The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2010

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Page 89 of 104

appellatIONS Uncorking malibu D Malibu vintners (left to right): Jim Palmer, Malibu Vineyards; Bob Haggstrom, Church Estate Vineyards; Emilio Estevez and Sonja Magdevski, Casa Dumetz; Don Schmitz, Malibu Solstice Vineyards; Kathryn Hagopian, Topanga Stillpoint Vineyard; Anthony Dias Blue, The Tasting Panel; Charles Schetter, Sanity Wines; Carol Hoyt, Hoyt Family Vineyards; Kevin Bening, Malibu Family Wines; Michael Barnes, Republic of Malibu; Tim Skogstrom, Cornell Tasting Room. tHe STaR-STuDDeD COaST IS l.a.’S Very OWN WINe cOUNtry by Emily Steers riving up the Pacific Coast Highway from Los Angeles to Malibu, it’s hard to compre- hend that the land of surfers and celebrity homes was once primarily zoned for agriculture. The coast of northern Los Angeles County hosts multiple climate zones, varying levels of rainfall and many different types of soil, making it an ideal growing space for an array of crops. Today, grapes are taking over the hills of Malibu. The fruit is being cultivated by a network of wine- makers not only enthusiastic about their product, but about the multifaceted land that has become their home. Michael McCarty, chef and owner of Michael’s Santa Monica and Michael’s New York, is the true groundbreaker in the area. His original 1.5 acres were planted in 1985; his wines debuted in 1989 and are still produced under the label The Malibu Vineyard ( In 1993, fire tore through the hills, leveling his plants and dropping land prices; McCarty replanted and re-grafted his vines, and his vineyard has flourished despite additional fires that have decimated neigh- boring plots throughout the decades. A view of Cielo Farms exemplified the rugged Malibu wine country. august 2010 / the tasting panel / 89 PHOTO COURTESY OF CIELO FARMS PHOTO: ALLISON LEVINE

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