After the wine tasting ...Some days it’s hard to be ck …

This past Sunday, ck, laya, esther and annabel lee went to the Herzog Wine Cellars in lovely Oxnard, California – a 45 minute drive from Los Angeles. We went as guests of the Wine guys – Gavriel and Jonathan. They were spectacular hosts! We went on a quick tour of the plant, sampled an impossible amount of really good wine (my fave – the Reisling) and then had a tremendous wine-saturated lunch at the spectacular on-site kosher restaurant. This was an exceptionally yummy experience – anyone living in or visiting LA should really check it out. The wine was great and meal was simply unparalleled. After sobering up we went on a great drive along the Pacific Coast Highway and then drove through Topanga Canyon before making our way back to the Pico/Robertson neighbourhood (aka The Upper West Side of LA). I could go on and on, but instead allow me to simply share photos of our day of gastronomic fun …. For those of you wishing to experience the delights of the Herzog Winery, call 805.983.1560 for reservations or visit their Web site for more info. They are open for lunch and their gorgeous dining room can be rented out for private dinners.

Road Trip!

Fuelling up before the road trip – with coffee of course. Here’s Laya, Esther and Annabel Lee …

Wine wine wine

Wine Guy: And here’s where we ferment the wine blah blah blah …
Everyone Else: (So uh… when do we get to drink already?)
*in all seriousness, the tour was brief, but it was very informative and we got to go into secret areas of the plant not usually accessible to outsiders. I’d tell you more but then I’d have to kill you …


And now the drunken excess wine tasting begins in earnest. Here we see Laya and Esther tasting a lovely Oak-fermented white Herzog Wine. Love those cinamony undertones!

Wine tasting gang

Gavriel, annabel lee, Esther, Jonathan and Laya tasting the special reserve Herzog wine (aka the Bad Ass wine). We definitely got the VIP treatment!

Oh Yum!

After the wine tasting, we went to the restaurant and had some amazing food and even more wine. Pictured above is the chile seared lamb and the grilled salmon. This was seriously some of the best kosher food I have ever eaten. Heck, this competes well with anything out there! Except for Brakha’s cooking of course. Nothing competes with that. But the restaurant was lovely, the staff was friendly and attentive, the kitchen staff looked totally professional and the total experience was completely sublime.


So Chill

After lunch we sobered up decompressed, got some coffee and then headed off for a walk on Zuma beach and a sunset drive through scenic Topanga Canyon. Thanks again to Gavriel and Jonathan and the staff at the Herzog Wine cellars for a fabulous day! Thanks also to Rabbi Bookstein for hooking us up with the wine guys and thanks to Esther for letting me crash her VIP wine tour. Apologies to Muffti – you totally missed out! Maybe you and the middle can go on your own some day … As for Michael, the Herzog Wine Cellars tour is two years away for you as you have to be 21 to take the tour. Heh.

About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • Ah, the oh-so-sweet wine guys, who every time I open up a bottle of Baron-Herzog I think of fondly! Glad all of the Jewlicious crew (including ck, who looks like he had a bit too much fun) had a great time.

    P.S. Esther, where were you the other night? I missed you oh-so-much at Friday night dinner.

  • Back in NYC now, I was wondering if it had really happened at all…

    All hail the wine guys, for a most memorable last day in California.

    Not sure who Zooka is, but I was sampling the Shabbatitude of the Pico-Robertson area. Glad to know I was missed, though…

  • Royal Wine also operates the Kedem Winery in Marlboro, NY. Jewlicious trip anyone?

  • Thanks guys and gals I had a awsome time too !!

    Leah and CK it would be really great to see you two before you leave and if not hopefully I’ll see you in the Eretz.

    Esther next time I’m in NY I will most deffiantely be looking you up.
    Annabell Lee you dont need to worry about those cold breezes or jealouse seraphim you can borrow my coat ;’ )

    gnight everyone

  • Wine Guy, looking forward to seeing you in NYC, and taking a shpatzir over to the Royal Wine Company facility here in NY. Muffti, you in?

  • I’m such a lonely loser father making a living and taking care of his family instead OF HAVING AN AMAZING TIME DINING AND WINE TASTING IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA!

    Looks like tons of fun, folks. Best of luck on the new winery and restaurant!

  • They do some gr8 wines these guys Kol HaKavod. Except for my Merlot French that I get on sale, these guys are my numbero uno wines. U should have invited me to this, damn,lol.
    I understand the Syrah wine is the best health one for you, how is theirs, I have had some Austrailian Syrah that I thought sucked.

  • Do you mean Riesling? (I have never heared of Reisling)

    And, eehm, this wine guy, Jonathan…he’s single…?! 🙂 CUTE!!!

  • Come now, Ariela…we can’t start copy-editing Jewlicious now, at least not with this typo. Why not start with the fact that there’s no comma between my name and laya’s, making it seem like we’re some sort of conjoined bi-national human hybrid entity? If you’re not careful, someone will call you a spelling Nazi. Believe me.

  • Hey thanks Ariela and yes I do happen t be quite single at the moment

    Esther I was just up at the Kedem winery in Malborough NY they really do have a cute tasting room up there its more rustic. As you probobly know concord wine isnt really my cup of tea ;’ ) but it would be a gorgeous trip up there in the fall.

  • hey gabe! your wine sucks! where is my beer?!
    jon, so u coming down to israel finally? so that late night slivovitz is paying off? when are you coming? and make sure to take gabe with you!

  • yeah, well esther, i was going to say that next -about the lack of comma between your name and laya’s, really. It really bothered me too, you know – I had this crazy idea in my head all of a sudden, about you and laya being joined at the hip or something 🙂

    And, g-d forbid, please i don’t want to turn into a spelling nazi, i already have that name over here and being called überstormführer in one language is more than enough, so i’ll pass and never say anything about ANY mistake EVER again. Thank you.

    O, and Jonathan: how do you go about being ‘quite single’ ? Or am I being a word-nitpicking-nazi again?!


  • quite

    adv 1: to a degree (not used with a negative); “quite tasty”; “quite soon”; “quite ill”; “quite rich” [syn: rather] 2: to the greatest extent; completely; “you’re quite right”; “she was quite alone”; “was quite mistaken”; “quite the opposite”; “not quite finished”; “did not quite make it” 3: of an unusually noticeable or exceptional or remarkable kind (not used with a negative); “her victory was quite something”; “she’s quite a girl”; “quite a film”; “quite a walk”; “we’ve had quite an afternoon” [syn: quite a, quite an] 4: actually or truly or to an extreme; “was quite a sudden change”; “it’s quite the thing to do”; “quite the rage”; “Quite so!”

    according to this dictionary there can be three possible meanings to “quite single” but to tell you the truth I just like the word.

  • Riesling, ck? I’m disappointed. The first duty of a wine is to be red.

    However, white wines can be good depending on the food to go with them, and of the whites Riesling is nice. Absolutely the best white wine I have ever had was a Vouvray from the Loire. I can’t find it anymore, though. Maybe it was a one-shot deal or they lost their hechsher or something.

    The Herzog Old Vine Zinfandel just kicks so much ass it’s not even funny. It is really good wine. None of that pussy “white Zinfandel” (my g-d!) for them, more power to them.

    It sounds like it was a great trip. I will have to make a point of visiting.

  • Ariela…small spelling victories emerge. Laya and I have had the editorial surgery and we are now separate, fully functioning beings…

  • Am I the only stupid one, or am I missing sth.? I don’t see a pic of esther alone…Or are you refering to the photo of esther and the corpse?

    i am going to hang myself now -goodnight.

  • Hey Sarah!!

    Everyone say hi to Sarah she is one of our very talented and knowledgable tasting room associates

  • the secret areas is for yayin nesach the wine is now not kosher if you r not shomer shabbos

  • Hey ck! It’s the other Rebecca. You got to go the restaurant before it went out of business! It looks like I should definitely make the trek out there the next time I go home, eh? Are you back in Montreal? I need you to teach me how to put pictures on the Ghetto Shul website with the FTP software.

  • Hey Becca not to worry this joint aint going out of business trust me it’ll be here next time you are home

  • ROTFL at that first photo of the sign…

    Glad you had a good time – we did something similar this summer at Golan Heights wineries. Nice Jewish touch was the little plastic stemware they gave to the kids (probably not done in America – can you say “lawsuit”?).