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Wine Tasting Room Going Directly From Barrel to Glass

Or from grapes to growlers.

LJ Crafted Wines is a new wine tasting room that's landing in the beach community of Bird Rock at 5621 La Jolla Boulevard, courtesy of owner Lowell Jooste, who moved to the area three years ago from Cape Town where his family was part of the South African wine business for four generations.

Drawing inspiration from the craft beer industry, Jooste is developing a tasting room where wine will be served directly out of barrels located under the tasting bar and available by the glass or in one liter-sized refillable custom bottles. The wine is produced in the Napa area, made with grapes sourced from well-respected vineyards in the region; expect a cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, sauvignon blanc, pinot noir rosé and chardonnays from the Russian River and Sonoma coast. Growler fills will range from $20 to $35.

LJ Crafted Wines began making wines in 2013 but lost almost half the barrels from its first production in the Napa earthquake of 2014; the 1,200-square-foot Bird Rock will have a wall built with stays from the earthquake-smashed barrels as well as a small sidewalk patio.

Likely opening by August or September, Jooste says that LJ Crafted Wines will be serving appetizers and small snacks. Though he hopes to sell most of their wine via growler for optimum freshness and sustainability, he does plan on having a wine club and will offer some wine in traditional corked bottles.