The level of access that Angelenos have to natural wine has grown considerably over the last couple of years. Natural wine bars and shops continue to proliferate in Los Angeles, with recent openings such as Only the Wild Ones, Voodoo Vin, and Vinovore Eagle Rock joining the city’s ever-growing roster, while places like Lolo and Melody have emerged from the pandemic as popular hangouts centered around playful wine menus. In October, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 389 into law, making it legal for restaurants to serve to-go wine, beer, and cocktails with food items through 2026.
An obvious benefit of delivery wine is that instead of having to go out to buy a bottle, the wine can come to you, like in the case of Little Lands, a natural wine delivery service that operates out of a white European-style transit van decorated with hand-painted vintage stamps. Its proprietor is Brion Brionson, an industry veteran who draws on his 20 years of wine experience at restaurants like Barbrix, Botanica, and All Time to offer a service akin to a curbside sommelier.
“Because it’s only me, there’s zero filter. This is pretty much the most unfettered access to my psyche and how I interact with the world and with wine,” Brionson says. Brionson has long, curly black hair and a knack for colorful Japanese streetwear; his spirited energy contributes to his approachable nature. Instead of looking like a suited beverage director at a fine dining restaurant, he has more of a quirky wine nerd vibe with a stash of bottles in his backseat that he’s excited to tell you about.
Brionson carries a specific permit from the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control known as a Limited Off-Sale Wine License, which allows him to sell wine directly to consumers online and over the phone as opposed to from a retail location open to the public. Customers of Little Lands — which launched in December 2020 — can place orders for specific bottles for delivery over text message, DM, and through the website, or they can simply request the presence of Brionson and his van. “And then I’ll roll through, they’ll meet me at the van, and I’ll go through what’s on board,” he explains. All of his business has come from word-of-mouth or Instagram, and many of his clients found Little Lands from having spotted the van.
Little Lands is named after the short-lived commune that existed in Tujunga, where Brionson lives with his family, in the early 1900s. It was also known by its Spanish name, Los Terrenitos. When he first came up with the idea several months into the pandemic, the original plan was to service those in his immediate vicinity within the Crescenta Valley. The area is more of a bedroom community with chain restaurants and fast food, but there is not much in the way of natural wine shops. In order to generate enough volume to subsist on, he expanded his service to all of Northeast LA and beyond. Most of Little Lands’ customers live in Altadena, Pasadena, Eagle Rock, and Glassell Park, and Brionson has also found traction in other neighborhoods where there isn’t a dedicated natural wine source, like Laurel Canyon.
For people who live on the Eastside of LA, orders placed before 12:30 p.m. can be delivered the same day, while folks on the Westside are serviced once a week on Little Land’s “all-city day.” One of the upsides to being a one-man roving operation is flexibility, and Brionson has gone as far as Malibu to deliver wine. He can also ship. So, if someone in Venice wanted a single bottle, he’d probably send it in the mail, but if they wanted the van experience and were looking to purchase wine for a party, he would figure out how to make it work.
Little Lands sells mostly European white, red, rosé, skin-contact, and bubbly wines. Due to the small and personal nature of the venture, Brionson’s ever-changing offering is a representation of the wines that he is passionate about, the producers that he trusts, and the bottles that he’s able to get his hands on in the competitive Los Angeles market. He stocks some bottles from Californian and Australian winemakers, but says that he’s always been drawn to France since it was French wine that he first got excited about at the beginning of his career. Everything he carries is considered natural, or in his words, made “without chemical additives or sugars or additional yeast,” because of his interest in preserving the history of wine made on a small-scale by winemakers well-versed in farming.
Brionson maintains that prior to the 1980s, when the use of additives in wine became more popular, all wine was natural wine. (“Because of the growing demand for natural wine, a lot of it what is available is flawed or a bad wine that would have never been released before,” he says.) Little Lands is a way for him to showcase the wines that he loves and feels great about drinking.
What Little Lands offers within the expansive sea of wine buying experiences in Los Angeles is a miniature shop on wheels. Calling upon Brionson is an effortless — and intimate — way to buy and discover wine without leaving home. One of his regulars, Ryan James, says that Little Lands helped to provide him and his wife with a sense of normalcy as they navigated their first year of parenthood in a pandemic: “When we started sleep training, Little Lands was there to assist us through a brutal weekend with a bottle of 2018 La Grange de I’Oncle Charles Alsace and 2018 Athenais De Beru Bourgogne Pinot Gris Rose. Next up was our anniversary, then my birthday, my wife’s birthday, our son’s first birthday, and so on.”
“I end up delivering mostly to people with young children who are kind of housebound, or people who work from home. It’s a lot of young families for whom it’s a big ordeal to get in the car and drive to Lou or Psychic,” Brionson says, adding that people also really like the personal touch that comes with buying his wine. “I’m able to DM someone and say, ‘Hey, I got some Alsatian riesling, and I know you’ve enjoyed that in the past.’ Most of the time, people are like, ‘Yeah, bring it over.’”
Find Little Lands on Instagram or by calling (323) 538-2618.