Wine country in Brea

New wine-tasting spot in town called the Wine Depot.

The familiar yellow caboose and train depot on Imperial Highway has become a destination for locals to enjoy a Shiraz, Chardonnay or several other varieties of wine.

Jerry and Lorena Kolb, longtime Brea residents and owners of the local landmark and adjacent MJB Realty office, opened the Wine Depot about a month ago.

The couple took over the location formerly called the Wine Stop, which had been vacant for two years, Jerry Kolb said.

“It needed to go on,” he said.

The former business offered one-ounce wine tastings, but the Kolbs expanded the liquor license so they can sell full glasses of wine along with beer and appetizers.

The Wine Depot sells close to 200 brands of wine, with most coming from boutique wineries in California.

Per-bottle prices range from $10 to $100

The centerpiece of the Wine Depot is a row of four self-dispensing, temperature-controlled machines called the wine station.

Patrons can buy a “smart card,” which is similar to a debit card, insert the card in the Wine Station, and choose either a one-ounce taste or five-ounce glass from 16 selections of wine.

Tastes range from $1 to $3 and glasses range from $4 to $12.

“You can try whatever you like and go back for a whole glass,” said Ceclia Hopp, a Brea business woman, who was sampling wine at the depot recently. “This would be a great place for an office party.”

The Wine Depot, is in fact, available for private parties.

The wine station keeps bottles at the optimum serving temperature, and the bottles that are for sale, which are stored in the caboose, are also kept at the proper temperature.

For those who want more personal attention, patrons can order directly from servers and sip at the bar, in a booth or even on the outside patio, where smoking is permitted.

Inside, the place has a quaint, antique feel, with circular bar stools and small, woodsy booths.

Wine expert Nathan Peraeu, the man in charge of selecting the wines for the Wine Depot, can help novices and connoisseurs make the right choice.

Article by LOU PONSI