Since their humble beginnings five years ago, the Young Winos of LA have welcomed hundreds of young people to their meetings. Here are a few of the most legendary:


Jesse Porter – “The Chairman”

Jesse arrived in Los Angeles in 2005 with nothing but a single suitcase and a dream of a wine club for young people. And also a car full of additional luggage. Oh, and his parents mailed him some other stuff as well. Jesse enjoys rustic, no-name French reds and beguiling whites from beguiling places, but his favorite wine remains big bad Barolo – the bigger and badder the better. Among Jesse’s proudest accomplishments are his birth, his support of the 2007 Cubs which doubtless helped them win the NL Central, and his coining of the definitive Young Winos tasting-order mantra: “white before red, no pain in the head. Red before white… yeah f*cking right.


Jason Meltzer – “The Answer”

Jason’s small but coveted wine cellar looks much like his DVD shelf — filled with items that impress others, but he doesn’t want you to actually touch them. When not drinking wine, Jason is a PhD candidate studying Computer Vision. He makes robots that can see, drive, and clean your house, including this bad-boy off-roader. You can thank him for his hard work when the machines rise up and enslave humanity; perhaps they will enjoy a nice refreshing Riesling when they are finished. Jason is also an amateur restaurant critic and avid reef keeper. Jason is the designer and webmaster of this site.


Andrew Lang – “The Malolactic Fanboy”

Andrew is a television editor from Madison, Wisconsin, and a loyal Wino since October 2005. He is a big Petite Syrah and Zinfandel fan, and while he is a well-known master of blind white wine identification (white wine co-champion and overall runner-up, 2007 March Madness blind tasting tournament), they tend to leave him a little ill. When not working or drinking, he can be found playing video games or watching and making movies. Among Andrew’s least-proudest accomplishments are his wanton destruction of Jesse’s white couch and his support of the 2007 Brewers (which unfortunately did not help them beat Jesse’s Cubs in the NL Central).


Leah Ann – “The Whiner”

Leah works for a non-profit and is also a doctoral student studying Organizational Leadership at Pepperdine. She’s quick to complain about all manner of things; no wine (or Wino) can expect to be spared her emphatic criticism. Her olfactory prowess, however, is beyond reproach, and she frequently surprises us with her uncanny bouquet observations; pulled pork and cinnamon are two stalwarts. Leah enjoys biking around wine country, and her favorite place to go tasting is Los Olivos.


Jordan Marks – “The Future”

Jordan discovered the Young Winos in May 2007 and uses the club as an outlet for the severe wine enthusiasm that he’s been hiding from friends and family since July 2006. His varietal of choice is Riesling, but he’s not averse to savoring a Chardonnay or a good California Cab. When he’s not drinking wine or taking pictures, Jordan enjoys working on the wrong side of the picket line as a Hollywood development dude and can often be found doing Crossfit or hitting the beach in Hawaii.


Jessica – “The Shark”

Jessica’s nickname derives not from her surname but rather from her sharp, cutting intellect, as well as her predatory, tourist-devouring sense of humor. A Young Wino since 2006, during the day Jessica is a Ph.D. student at UCLA studying higher education. Very few winos know what this means and have no idea what Jessica does in her waking life, but they do know that at night her favorite wines are sweet, crisp Rieslings (bonus points if they are from Upstate New York). Outside the Wino world, Jessica likes to read, travel, play softball, and take pictures. Lots of pictures.


Max Dionne – “The Snark”

Max merits inclusion among the elite for the pivotal role he played in helping get the Young Winos off the ground; for the first three weeks, he was one of only four people in attendance, and contributed robustly to the discourse. Once meetings ceased to be held at our place every week, though, Max began to play the role of infrequent attendee and general snark. If you ever need a snarky comment about a wine, Max is your guy. When he’s not snarking it up with us, he’s posting snarky blog entries here or making snarky videos here.


Emily Olsen – “The Champ”

Emily works in the medical industry for a company that creates devices which encourage people’s hearts to continue functioning. When she’s not breathing crucial life into the Young Winos, she enjoys playing her sister’s Wii and living in her sister’s apartment. Emily enjoys all things that sparkle – wine included – but her real talent lies in blind tasting; she is the 2007 Young Winos March Madness blind tasting overall champion, and as such was supposed to receive a large prize, which Jesse assures her is forthcoming.


Erik Nye – “The Token”

Despite changing his address in late 2007 – eschewing his Venice bungalow for a grotto in the Hollywood Hills – Erik remains to this day the official “Young Wino with the sweetest crib.” Erik enjoys Tokaji dessert wines from Hungary, but he’s open to trying just about anything. Gastronomy is another specialty; Erik is an excellent cook and often favors the Winos with culinary delights.

In Memoriam:

Don Ferlazzo – “The Philistine”

One of the Young Winos’ longest-lived and most frequent attendees, “Discriminating Don” (as he was never called) was always down to drink just about anything and to profess his enjoyment of its “grapey” flavors – whether the bottle in question was white, red, or beer. Currently, the Winos use the phrase “Don would’ve liked this one” as a gentle euphemism to avoid hurting the feelings of someone who brings a gnarly bottle. We all miss him, but we know that wherever Don is, he’s drinking straight from the swill bucket and enjoying life. Oh, and he’ll definitely be at the meeting next time he visits LA, which will hopefully be soon.