West Side Today: Moraga Winery: Your Neighborhood Vineyard

Looking out across the 405 from The Getty Center, it’s possible to see off in the distance what appears to be a vineyard. No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you. It is indeed a vineyard. It’s called Moraga Vineyards Estate in Bel-Air and sits on 16 acres.

In the 1930s and 1940s, the property was a horse ranch owned by film director Victor Fleming. Tom and Ruth Jones bought the property in 1959. Media mogul Rupert Murdoch purchased the property in 2013 for almost $30 million. The winemaking is overseen by Scott Rich.

I recently received an invitation to attend a tasting at the winery. The winery has no public tours, so I was excited to take advantage of this rare opportunity, and took my wife, who’s more of a wine connoisseur than me.

Photos: Courtesy.
Winemaker Scott Rich, with Brentwood resident Gail Killefer, enjoying a glass of wine at the estate.

It was a terrific experience. The setting is so quiet. Amidst the many acres of vines are huge oak trees, and a tasting facility that includes an underground cave for storing and aging the casks of wine.

It felt like we were visiting Los Angeles, circa 1880. How amazing L.A. must have been prior to the freeways.

It isn’t a particularly large winery. There are currently 6.3 planted acres so production is limited but if you join the wine club you’ll get early access to bottles and you can also visit the vineyard.

At the tasting event, staff quietly and politely poured samples of wine and passed around hors d’oeuvres.

Again, I’m not a connoisseur, but I could tell from all the “oohs” and “aahs” that fellow visitors thought both the reds (Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot) and the whites (Sauvignon Blanc) were pretty spectacular.

The wines are pricey – and for a reason. The philosophy has been from day one to keep things simple and there is purity to the taste, according to those who write about wine.

If you’re interested in trying Moraga Estate wines, you can ask for them at the following local establishments: Peppone, Divino, Toscana, Fig, Brentwood Country Club, Bel-Air Country Club, Beverly Hills Cheese Store, Bel-Air Bay Club, Georgio Baldi, Hotel Bel-Air, Bel-Air Restaurant, Nobu Malibu and Wolfgang’s Steakhouse in Beverly Hills.

You can also buy Moraga Estates wines directly at Wally’s in Westwood.

If you call Moraga at 310.471.8560, you can place an order and pick it up from Moraga Estate’s office located at 650 North Sepulveda Blvd.

For more information visit, www.moragavineyards.com.