Rupert Murdoch is getting into the wine business. The founder and CEO of News Corporation leaked the news himself May 10, tweeting that he has agreed to buy Moraga Vineyards in the hills above the posh Bel Air community of Los Angeles. “He let the cat out of the bag,” Jim Kline, the real-estate agent who is handling the sale, told Wine Spectator.
A sales price was not disclosed, but the property was listed for $29.5 million. The sale includes the 16-acre estate, as well as the winery and cave, brand and inventory, plus a 7,500-square-foot private residence.
Dan Berger, News Corporation's vice president of corporate communications, declined comment.
Australia-born Murdoch, 82, is the colorful and sometimes controversial CEO of News Corporation, one of the world's largest media conglomerates, with holdings that include Fox News, 20th Century Fox movie studio, the Wall Street Journal and HarperCollins book publishing.
Murdoch is buying the estate from Tom and Ruth Jones, who have lived at Moraga since 1959. It previously belonged to Victor Fleming, director of Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz. Tom Jones was the CEO of Northrop Corporation for 30 years before retiring in 1989. A wine lover, Jones planted vineyards and made his first wine in 1989, releasing it in 1992. The estate's red wine, a blend of primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, often earned outstanding scores from Wine Spectator (90 points or higher on our 100-point scale). Production ranged from 300 to 600 cases per year, and the wine sold for $125. The estate also produces a Sauvignon Blanc.
When the property went on the market several months ago, Murdoch expressed quick interest, Kline said. “I think he’s very interested in learning the wine business and carrying on Moraga the way that it has been,” Kline said. “I think it’s something that intrigues him. And it’s a spectacular property.”