Inside Jon & Vinny’s beats the heart of LA’s natural wine scene: Helen’s Wines—a tiny shop that stocks no small measure of wonderful options. Proprietor Helen Johannesen is also a director of operations for the Joint Venture Restaurant Group, meaning she oversees the beverage program here, as well as at Animal, Son of a Gun, and Trois Mec, to name a few. Across the board, she focuses on naturally-driven and organically farmed labels, showcasing small production vineyards that utilize low intervention methods and make wine with integrity.
When it comes to wine lists, “natural” is the buzzword of the moment. The term is an umbrella, encompassing wines that have been produced from organically-farmed grapes or made without sulfites or additives. Sometimes they’re funky, sometimes less so. These restaurants are serving up a compelling array of what’s out there—from small-batch producers, up-and-coming regions, and grapes of many kinds—all aptly suited to their cuisine.