(Your California) Malibu, Calif. — Organically grown Pinot Noir vines surround the Malibu home of Hollywood celebrity Emilio Estevez. Planted back in 2004 as an experimental project to save water, the vines are now producing the grapes for Casa Dumetz Estate Bottled Pinot Noir.
When Estevez purchased the property, the home was dominated by a water-thirsty lawn, so he came up with a unique plan to replace it with something more drought-friendly and productive.
"I started getting these ridiculously high water bills," Estevez told the Your California Radio Show. "So I had this crazy idea to dig up the lawn and plant a vineyard."
He says crazy idea, because most of his family and friends told him it was such. But now, it's Estevez who is literally enjoying the fruits of his labor. He said his water bill dropped substantially to about $70 a month, and the property is growing a useful product—something the lawn wasn't providing.
The vineyard has also given the Hollywood star a new focus.
"It's important to have outside interests and hobbies," Estevez said regarding his career in the film industry. And now that hobby is becoming a full-blown passion for wine making. He has expanded the operation beyond his acre or so of grapes in Malibu to include Viognier and Syrah grapes grown at Tierra Alta Vineyards in the Santa Ynez Valley Area. With the addition of the Santa Barbara County product, Casa Dumetz is now making about 650 cases a year.
Estevez especially likes the Viognier, calling it the star of the Casa Dumetz line. "Sonja has just been nailing the Viognier for the last couple of years," he said referring to his partner Sonja Magdevski.
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His respect for the wine industry shows in his marketing approach. While many stars choose to use their famous names as a way to bring recognition to their projects, you won't find any current photos of Estevez, nor any clear references to him on the winery's website or bottle labels.
There is however a picture on the site of Estevez as a young boy, at his grandfather's vineyard in Spain—something lost on visitors who don't know any better. And, he chose to sign the site's About section as "Don Emilio", rather than use his full name.
"There's a lot of people that will buy something just based on a celebrity endorsement or a celebrity name on a product," Estevez said. "But, we wanted the wine and the product to speak for itself."
You can currently find Casa Dumetz wines at a number of locations around Southern California and the Central Coast. The winery does not operate a tasting room at the moment, but Estevez said they are hoping to put one together. He expects it to be somewhere along the growing Malibu wine trail within the next couple of years.
Casa Dumetz - Malibu
Tierra Alta Vineyards - Santa Ynez
Top - Casa Dumetz - Pinot Grapes
Middle - Tierra Alta Vineyard
Bottom - Emilio Estevez with father Martin Sheen during production of his film The Way - David Alexanian