- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
It’s not every day that a rookie real estate broker walks into the office having bagged a $13 million listing for one of the largest wineries in Los Angeles County. But when you are Emmy Award-winning producer-turned-broker Robert Morton, the rules of the trade apply a little bit differently.
“I was a celebrity in the office for 20 minutes,” Morton told The Hollywood Reporter after he secured the listing. “People were very happy but now I have to sell it.”
What he is selling is the Agua Dulce winery, which is listed for $12.8 million and is located 35 miles northeast of L.A. It’s a 100-acre property that includes 80 acres of vines, a 5,000-square-foot five-bedroom home, a tasting room, mountain vistas and all the infrastructure necessary to produce 10 types of wines including an award-winning port.
The seller is businessman Barry Goldfarb, who got into the wine business a quarter of a century ago as a hobbyist. He now owns three different wineries and is unloading Agua Dulce for lifestyle reasons. “I am at that point in life where I have to delete some things,” he said. “I am 70 years old, and I have been in the wine business for 25 years. I am trying to take it easy and travel more.”
Morton ultimately landed the listing through Goldfarb’s wife Donna, whom he befriended in college. He sent Donna a birthday card and she then reached out offering him and his firm, Partners Trust, the opportunity to sell the estate. “When I went up for there for the first time, it blew me away,” said Morton.
Deja vu quickly set in for the former producing partner of David Letterman: “The first thing we did was make a video, and so I am on set at the shoot and I start getting a panic attack. It was very odd for me. I worried about the lighting and keeping it on budget. And the stakes are a helluva lot less than they are in television, but it made me nervous. This is the business I wanted to leave and it sucks you right back in. It was a very odd sensation.”
Ten months ago Morton announced that he was retiring as a producer after working on The Late Show With David Letterman and then producing shows like Drew Carey’s Green Screen Show and Over the Top. He got his broker’s license and signed on with Partners Trust. Dario Svidler is the other listing agent on the property.
With his ties to Hollywood, Morton would seem an ideal broker for Agua Dulce. Over the past few decades, wineries have emerged as coveted trophies within the highest echelons of the entertainment and media industries. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie own Chateau Miravel in the Provence region of France; Antonio Banderas owns a winery in Spain’s Ribera del Duero; Madonna has a winery in Michigan; and Pixar’s John Lasseter has Lasseter Family Winery in Sonoma County. “A lot of people buy in Napa, Sonoma, and Santa Barbara, but this is just so much closer,” said Morton.
Almost a year into his new career as a broker, Morton is hard-pressed to detail the drawbacks of an industry that is known to rival Hollywood in its ruthless competitiveness. “I am surprised at how decent the people are. It’s not that show business is packed with negativity, but this is a much more positive industry,” he said. “The schadenfreude is not as great.”
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day