Moraga Vineyards – A Los Angeles Secret

Tucked into the hills of Bel Air sits the 16 acre winery, Moraga Vineyards.  Not open to the public, I was invited recently to tour the property and taste the elusive and sought-after wines.

Exiting the 405 at Moraga and driving up the street, it doesn’t seem possible that a winery exists in this area. The streets are lined with houses that sit side-by-side and are visible from the street. But, I parked in front of the given address and walked up the driveway where I was greeted by vineyards that continued up the hill to the winery.

Purchased more than 50 years ago by Tom and Ruth Jones, the property was originally a horse ranch. But, it turned out that the microclimate and soil are similar to Bordeaux and so they were inspired to plant the first grapes 1978. Originally planted to 2200 vines per acre, today there is a total of 15,000 vines.

We wandered around the property and I climbed up the hill to get a clear view across to the Getty.

Owner Tom Jones joined us for a short while.

Moraga Vineyards produces one white wine and one red wine.  We tasted three vintages of the “White Wine” and four vintages of their “Red Wine”.  Both wines are made with Bordeaux varietals.

Moraga White Wine is produced from Sauvignon Blanc.  Most of the grapes are fermented in stainless steel but about 20% is fermented in new French oak barrels and then the wine is aged on the yeast lees for eight to ten months prior to bottling. These techniques enable the Sauvignon Blanc to live longer than typical Sauvignon Blancs. While the 2010 had floral and citrus notes, the 2001 and 2005 were rounder with more tropical notes.


Moraga Red Wine is produced from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with small amounts of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The wines are aged in French barrels for 18-22 months and then aged in the cellar for 2 years before being released.

Moraga Vineyards is a very special place in Los Angeles and is literally “our local winery.”

See more photos from the day: [miniflickr photoset_id=72157630895343688&sortby=date-posted-asc&per_page=40]