A Happy Hour Spritz with Helen Johannesen

Photographed by Nicki Sebastian

Helen Johannesen can make a spritz at the drop of a hat. “Hospitality in the home is one of the things I’m most passionate about,” says Johannesen, the owner of Helen’s Wines, which is something of a natural wine mecca here in LA. It’s no surprise that entertaining comes naturally to Helen, who also happens to be a new mom to sweet babe Skky, despite the fact that life looks a bit different now. “Life is a lot faster, but also a bit slower since Skky was born,” she explains. “I think I work a lot smarter now. [Motherhood] is all about balance and being present in each moment — it’s actually really good for my brain and my sanity in a weird way!”

The end of day unwind is ultra-important with Johannesen’s busy schedule (the fourth location, in Beverly Hills, opens later this summer). Helen and her partner Alex will crack open a bottle of wine — right now she’s into a Broc Cellars KouKou, a chilled red for sunset or take a sunset swim. When friends come by, she keeps things simple. “My philosophy is, if I’m not having fun or relaxed, it’s not a good vibe.” Taking inspiration from a Milanese antipasti bar, she’ll often put out potato chips and olives, and cut a few Persian cucumbers from the vines to serve with Maldon and lime juice.

We invited ourselves over to Helen’s house for —what else? — aperitivo hour and caught a little glimpse into Helen and Alex’s laughter-filled household, where the back fridge is always stocked with orange wine. For added laughs and to ensure you’re the best guest at the next dinner party, sign up for her hilarious, stream-of-consciousness-style newsletter chock full of one-liners and wine recommendations here.


2 oz. Skin Contact / Unfiltered Prosecco
2 oz. Orange Wine (preferably tropical and floral)
1 oz. Aperol
1 Lemon
2 leaves of fresh tarragon

Juice half of a lemon into a glass. Combine prosecco, orange wine, and aperol into the glass. Add ice and stir. Garnish with thinly-sliced lemons along the inside of the glass. Slap two leaves of tarragon between your hands to release aromatics, tear leaves in half and add to the top of the drink. Drink!

Helen wearing the Jane Blouse and her own vintage jeans

Helen in the kitchen wearing the Winnie Dress

Helen wearing the Winnie Dress and table dressed with the Alabaster Countryside Calico Tablecloth

Helen wearing the Soraya Dress

Helen wearing the June Top and her own vintage jean

Alabaster Countryside Calico Tablecloth; Helen wearing the Jane Blouse and her own vintage jeans