Vintage Hollywood

It seems once anyone has made a bit of money, he next wants to make wine. According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, those with the means to chase their wine dreams are growing grapes on the steep hills of Malibu, an unlikely location. As the article points out, “Acreage is scarce, the climate’s tricky and water is an issue. So — why not make wine?”

Wealthy lawyers, restaurateurs, and movie stars (Emilio Estevez, namely) are putting in small plots of grapes alongside their Malibu digs, making their own wine for friends and family.

Though no one spends millions on exclusive Malibu real estate to make a living as a vintner, planting wine grapes where the side lawn used to be is the new must-have home improvement. Total vineyard acreage in the Malibu region … is still small, with perhaps 150 acres planted to vines. In the last five years, the number of vineyards in the region has more than quadrupled.

This isn’t a practical decision, by any means.

“Malibu is the most challenging place I’ve ever worked,” says a vineyard consultant who advises several Malibu growers, who he says have put way more into their vines than they’ll ever get out. “It costs two to three times as much to grow grapes in Malibu as it does anywhere along California’s Central Coast,” he notes.

There may be added bonuses, however. Los Angeles attorney Michael Barnes’s Syrah vineyard “acted as a fire break for his canyon home during last fall’s wildfires.”

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