Newport Beach Vineyards and a Rural Haven in Upper Newport Bay
Formerly known as Santa Ana Heights before annexation in 2008, this unusual area is roughly bordered by Santa Ana Avenue, Mesa Drive, Bayview Avenue and Bristol Street. One end of the popular Mesa Drive equestrian trail offers stunning views of the Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve. The other end overlooks two pristine golf courses. In between are dog kennels,h properties, a Vineyard, neighborly residents and the occasional stray chicken or goose.
Founded in 1998, The Newport Beach Vineyards and Winery is one of the Best-Kept Secrets in Orange County, California. This unique site is located on the private residence of Richard Moriarty above the Upper Newport Bay, and includes spectacular botanical gardens, koi ponds, vegetable patch, and the exotic bird aviary. The vineyard has over twelve hundred vines, covering about a third of the property, which produces up to five tons of high quality red wine grapes. Best known for a local award winning Meritage wine, each vintage is a blend, using up to five traditional Bordeaux red wine grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. There is a one thousand square foot Underground Wine Cave where the wine ages for two years in imported oak barrels.
Although the vineyard is not open to the public and does not offer wine tasting, the Newport Beach Vineyard and Winery can be reserved, during the year for exclusive special events such as business soirées, political fundraisers, charity events, surprise birthdays, anniversaries, and other distinctive occasions. The wine cave is available to entertain groups of twelve to two hundred guests. Click HERE to read more.
There are many walking and horse trails in this unique area with access to the beautiful Upper Newport Bay Reserve which has an interesting history. The land was acquired by the Irvine Company in 1864, the bay was used as a salt works from the 1930s until 1969, when the land used for the salt works was destroyed by flooding. It was not until the 1960s did preservation of the Newport Back Bay begin. After ten years of lawsuits enacted by concerned citizens, did the State of California Department of Fish and Game designate the undeveloped portions of the Upper Newport Bay an ecological reserve. In the mid 1980s, Orange County incorporated the bluffs surrounding the bay to the ecological reserve. In 1989, Orange County accepted the 140-acre Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve.
It is a very lush area of land that is home to fish, migratory birds, and other animals. Easily accessible by foot, bicycle, car and kayak. Check it out sometime!