Nancy Milby, owner of LCA Wine at SoCo Collection in Costa Mesa, is an Orange County wine personality I’d love to clink glasses with to hear her tales of travels, chateaux, and tastings. She is magnetically charismatic, passionate, energetic, highly educated, and a wine-region globetrotter. Like many in the wine industry, she left her 20-year finance career to follow her passion.
Milby grew up in Northern California, where her parents made wine at home. Her many trips to Napa Valley further developed her love for the winemaking experience. Once she left the corporate world, she opened Laguna Culinary Arts (LCA), which taught everything from basic cooking to fine culinary skills. At a time when she considered expanding the school’s curriculum to include wine, she met Peter Neptune, who began holding his Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) courses at LCA. Milby was his first student, and she soon accrued many wine diplomas and titles. In 2014, she moved her school from Laguna Beach to SoCo Collection, and streamlined it into LCA Wine.
During this period, Milby created an event called Uncorked. The affair, which raises money for a community charity by showcasing local culinary talent’s food-and-wine pairings, became a hit in Laguna Beach and is now celebrating its second year at SoCo. This year’s party will be from 6 to 9 p.m. March 31 in the center’s courtyard. There will be live music, and food will include signature bites from SoCo’s award-winning restaurants, including Arc and Taco Maria, and wine-tastings from more than 30 producers from across the globe. Among them are Domaine Sainte Eugenie of the Languedoc and Chateau Les Crostes of Provence, friends of Milby’s. She has even secured a white port and a Madeira to complement the chocolates from ST Patisserie and SusieCakes. Proceeds will benefit Project Hope Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to ending child homelessness in Orange County.
6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, March 31
3315 Hyland Ave.