Old Oak Cellars – Pasadena’s Winery is a Well-Kept Secret

Tuesday, November 8, 2016 | 7:57 pm

What happens when a passion for wine outgrows the garage? If you’re lucky, Old Oak Cellars happens. This side project turned working winery venture was born of a love of pinot noir and can-do attitude. Dave Lustig describes how his honeymoon to Sonoma in the early 1990s sparked an interest in home winemaking. He and a few friends started making wine under the label The Four Joes and sampled grapes from Baja to Oregon.


He later partnered with Paul Overholt, who owns a family-run vineyard in the Russian River in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley. They specialize in Bordeaux style wines with a focus on Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Zinfandel.

“The best wine comes from the best grapes,” said Lustig. “You look for a harmony of tartness/acid to sugar.”

Lustig explains that Old Oak’s wines are more in the French style – drier and with less alcohol than California wines. He also makes a distinctive Chardonnay which has not been oaked. This 2012 Chardonnay won the Pacific Rim Wine Competition Silver Medal Winner and is made with 100% Chardonnay grapes. This light wine pairs well with food and is described as vibrant with creamy richness and a touch of palate-cleansing acidity.

Despite prestigious wins at wine competitions and fan favorite picks at wine tastings. Lustig cares more about flavor and enjoyment than catering to contents. All the aging and blending is done in Pasadena but the grapes are grown in Sonoma – this unique set-up alone makes it worth the trip to see their cellars.


“We do what we do in service of the wine,” said Lustig. He adds that one of the best parts of independent winemaking is being able to experiment and literally work hands-on with the wine.

When making each year’s vintage, he focuses on blending the right flavor rather than percentages of each grape variety. Lustig explains that he wants to make drinkable wines that pair well with food and can be enjoyed with everything from pork chops to gnocchi. He is currently searching for a wine to pair with tomato sauce.

In addition to winemaking, Old Oak Cellars is a performance space for intimate Cellar Sessions concerts. The performances feature local artists, booked by Brad Colerick, organizer of Wine and Song night. Each performance includes a complimentary wine tasting. Spend the evening or afternoon in Pasadena’s very own wine cellar in the company of talented musicians and fine, local wine.

Old Oak Cellars Wine is available at local Vons and from their cellar which is located at 2620 East Foothill Boulevard. Call (626) 794-1244 or visit https://inwineinc.com/.



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