The vineyards were born out of the massively destructive freeze in 1992 that ruined so many avocado trees on the property. The million pounds of fruit lost in the first year of the freeze and subsequent dip in production convinced the Semler’s that avocados would continue to be a risky crop. With this in mind, they needed to find something that could handle temperature swings from low double digits all the way up to triple digits. Wine grapes came to the top of the list as they would go dormant in the winter, withstand the strong Santa Ana winds and are incredibly water efficient. Grapes require one-seventh less water than an equivalent volume of avocados. Thus, began the Semler’s journey of growing and producing some of the best wines in California.
Perfectly positioned at the crest of the Santa Monica Mountains, in the Saddle-Rock Malibu AVA, the vineyards are quite unique: The rocky terrain and steep south-facing slopes provide the perfect environment for growing premium wine grapes. Planting started in 1997 with 15 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon. Today, the hillside vineyards comprise approximately 70,000 vines on 70 acres with twelve varietals. Some varietals include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, and more.
Tours of the vineyard are available from Malibu Wine Hikes.