Food & Spirits

Rupert Murdock’s Moraga Estate in BelAir, CA

Moraga Winery
Written by Jane Emery

Moraga Estate – Winery
Who knew there was an incredibly beautiful and unique 14 acre property, 6.2 of that being the vineyard in the heart of Los Angeles with soils similar to the great vineyards of Bordeaux?

Photographer Alissa Mitchell at Moraga Estate in Bel Air California

Rupert Murdock got wind of the Moraga Estate that was for sale when he read about it in the Wall Street Journal in 2013. He immediately met with Tom and Ruth Jones, who had spent the last 20 years developing the vineyard into the special place it is today.

When they bought the 14-acre property in 1959, it was a small horse ranch built by the famous movie director Victor Fleming, (“The Wizard of Oz” and “Gone With the Wind”) where Clark Gable rode around in during the filming of Gone With The Wind and lunched on the terrace with Vivien Leigh and Spencer Tracy.

The Moraga property was the first bonded winery established in Los Angeles since Prohibition. It has been producing wine now for 28 years. The estate includes a 7,500-square-foot, nine-fireplace Mediterranean Revival–style mansion and guest house, a Provençal-style garden, and sixteen acres of vineyards.

Tyler-Emery at Moraga vineyards

It is located in Moraga Canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains, in the hilly part of the exclusive neighborhood of Bel Air in Los Angeles, California.

Some of the reasons Moraga wines are so exceptional is the location of the canyon is the steep vineyard, planted at elevations up to 900 feet, is recognized as an exceptional site for creating wines. The Moraga estate vineyard has ancient marine soils and a distinct microclimate that clearly differentiates the property from other California appellations.

Where the magic happens at Moraga Winery. With writer Tyler Emery.

Where the magic happens at Moraga Winery. With writer Tyler Emery.

With regard to structure, ageability and elegance, the Moraga wines are more akin to those of Bordeaux than California wines.

Moraga Estate and Winery and Vineyards produces about 10,000 bottles a year. 70% is red and 30% white. The Moraga Red is more like those from Bordeaux than California. The Sauvignon Blanc is perfect; not too sweet and not too heavy or dry.

You can purchase bottles of Moraga Red vintages as far back as their first vintage in 1989 and Moraga White vintages from 1998.

Says Rupert Murdoch: “My claim is that Moraga is a unique wine. It is certainly as good as anything made in California. When I go to dinner parties in New York, nothing I drink compares to it.”

Winemaker Scott Rich: “Our winemaking practices are classical techinques implemented in a meticulous fashion.”

Moraga the street was named after José Joaquín Moraga who was second in command during Juan Bautista de Anza’s 1772 missions in California. The flower motif on the Moraga label was inspired by the Castilian roses in the area, which still grow wildly on the property.

Rupert Murdock purchased the Moraga Estate and Winery in 2013 for $28.8 million.

For more information, go to MoragaVineyards.com.

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Jane Emery

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