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Wine Bar 101: Notes from the Other Side of the Counter

"California makes the worst wine in the world," said Grandiose Statement Guy, as he reached for a tasting glass of a red blend I thought he might enjoy. "I'll take a glass of this one! You know my palate well already." I sure do, I thought, as I poured him the requested glass of a Santa Barbara wine. Sigh. There are at least two hundred wine bars in Los Angeles. As one goes out of business, three more pop up - each with something different to offer. As a wine bartender, I'm privy to "behind the counter" info that will make picking your next favorite watering (wine-ering?) hole a piece of cake - and how to make the most of your experience, regardless of your wine knowledge level.