How to find a REALLY good wine class in Southern California

Head Wine Chix, Linda Kissam

Head Wine Chix
Linda Kissam


How to find a REALLY good wine class in Southern California


By Linda Kissam,  Head Wine Chix

Neptune classroom

Wondering how to find a REALLY good wine class in Southern California? Good news. Your ship has just come in. LCA Wine located in the uber cool South Coast Collection (SOCO) in Costa Mesa is the answer to the question about how to further your wine education. They focus solely on wine tasting, wine education and exceptional bottles of wine at great prices. Yup, and all under one roof.

Retail Sales

You may remember this group of people under the name Laguna Culinary arts. Well, they regrouped and are now LCA Wine, continuing the tradition started in Laguna Beach more than ten years ago, offering wines from all over the world that represent the unique terroir of each place at good values.

More good news! LCA shares space with The Neptune School of Wine. Under the auspices of Master Sommelier Peter Neptune, the Neptune School of wine offers certification classes of the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET), The French Wine Scholar Program, and The Society of Wine Educators. In addition, entry level “Wine Basics” classes and specialty wine classes are offered monthly. This is cradle to doctorate level learning. Start where you are and become more than you imagined.

What makes a wine  school,  retail sales and  tasting shop exceptional?

Credentialed instructors like Peter Neptune

I generally don’t recommend anything unless I have seen it, smelled it, tried, it, loved it. It’s got to be REALLY good and offer something more than a place to taste the good stuff and meet nice people. Classes need to be run by people who really know their stuff (as in credentialed). I personally like it best when we drink the hand-picked good stuff AND the instructor can tell me a story about the wine I am drinking.

Respect me enough to give me a quiet space and reasonable classroom accommodations. Hey! I like to sit down, spread my stuff out and have enough room to go back to wines I’ve already tasted without having to dump to move on to the next wine.

Sing me a song. I want to know what we’re drinking. How did this wine make the cut for the class? Did the sales rep give the instructor a good price, did the owner have some product they needed to move…or did the instructor taste it in France and couldn’t wait to share it with her class? Tell me how this wine makes a geographic, historical, personal and sociological statement that makes each sip of wine something more than liquid inside a glass. Check!

Master Sommelier teaches the WSET classes

Tell me no lies. I like to know the teacher’s experience. Enthusiasm is not a good substitute for knowledge. I am here to learn. Give me  instructors who can “read” their students within the first five minutes. Let them have fun with us but be in control …and leave the snob factor at home. Engage me, listen to me, and lead me to the finish line.

Sell me what I tasted at a good price. That needs no explanation.

Engagement between instructor and student is key

You can put a big ‘ol check mark beside each of my “must have” items above. This place has it all and more. I am hard to impress, but somehow they not only won me over, but the nine other wine writers at the classroom event.

Kudos to the team below. Go see them soon. I am totally right on this. Just sayin.

Nancy L. Milby CS, DWS: Owner of LCA Wine, Certified Sommelier Instructor. Killer palate, knows how to source and price wine, excellent instructor. Come in and taste some wines with her. Engross yourself in her thought process. Ask her to tell you the stories of her wine.

Peter Neptune: Owner of Neptune School of Wine, Master Sommelier, instructor.  Engaging, fun, knowledgeable, interesting and a good guy all around. Consider yourself lucky to work with Peter.

Rubina Jaffer: Kitchen Table Marketing + PR: The lovely young lady who introduced me to LCA. She gets the Smart Cookie Award for putting me on the grand opening press list and arranging the classroom-style press event.

Happy sipping and learning!

LCA Wine







LCA Wine
Retail Sales & Tasting /

Neptune School of Wine

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