Rupert Murdoch buys Bel Air wine estate
- Wednesday 15 May 2013
'Beautiful small vineyard'... Moraga
The chairman of News Corp has bought the 6ha estate from industrialist Thomas Jones, ex-CEO of Northrop Grumman, a defense company which makes unmanned surveillance planes – or drones – for the Obama administration and other governments around the world.
A delighted Murdoch announced the move on Twitter. ‘About to celebrate buying beautiful small vineyard right in LA. Great wine, Moraga, owned by great Angelino, Tom Jones. Time cover, 1961!'
The sale price has not been disclosed, but the estate was on the market for US$29.5m.
Moraga is located five miles from the Pacific Ocean in the Los Angeles community of Bel Air, at an elevation of between 600 and 900 feet, and has been home to Ruth and Tom Jones since 1959.
However, it has only produced wine since the couple began experimenting with different varietals in 1978, inspired by their property's south-facing slopes, which they considered similar to Tuscany’s hillsides, and gravelly soil.
In the late 1980s, they recruited Etude Wines founder and winemaker Tony Soter. A first Moraga red table wine, a Bordeaux blend, was produced in 1989 and released in 1992. It also produces a Sauvignon Blanc. They retail at US$125 and US$65 respectively.
In 2005, Moraga opened a new winery, following completion of a barrel ageing facility in 2003.