Local couple opens winery in Oceanside

Local couple opens winery in Oceanside
Recently 2.5 acres of grapes have been planted. Photo by Promise Yee

OCEANSIDE — Beach House Winery winery and vineyards sits on a hill that offers panoramic views of the ocean, San Jacinto Mountain and San Luis Rey Valley. Kim and George Murray broke ground on the 4-acre property in 2009. In 2010 they were OK’d by the city to produce wine. George explained that making wine is a planned and careful process. Grapes are crushed, stemmed, punch mixed and fermented before they turn into alcohol and are barreled. Once barreled, the final fermentation process begins and barrels are topped off monthly to close any air space.“We’re not a big corporate winery,” George said. “Friends become part of the process.”Recently they planted 2.5 acres of sanglovese, cabernet franc and malbec vines. The vines will be ready to produce in about four years.“It’s great soil,” George said. “The climate is very much like Portugal or Spain. It’s perfect for growing grapes.”
In the meantime they source grapes from Sonoma, Napa, Paso Robles and San Diego.

George Murray (left) with Kim Murray are owners of the Beach House Winery in Oceanside. Photo by Promise Yee

“Grapes are like an apple,” George said. “There are different characteristics, different styles of grapes.”
A lot of profiling goes into sourcing grapes, yeast and barrel selection, and testing wine pH and sugar.

“You test the natural pH structure to ensure it’s not bitter or so tart you can’t drink it,” George said. “There are checks and balances. There’s a lot of research involved, but it’s all worth it.”

The final test to determine if wine is ready to bottle is tasting it.

“We like to share the romantic part of wine making with people,” George said.

The Murrays will produce a total of 54 barrels of 11 different varietals wines this year. Each barrel yields 300 bottles of wine.

“All our wine is barrel-aged,” George said.

Currently wine tasting is by appointment and guests to the winery bring their own appetizers.

Kim and George live on the winery property and still work at their day jobs as a financial analyst and geophysicist, respectively, while they are starting up the winery. They plan to retire within the next couple of years and devote themselves to the winery full time.

“We want to stay a small winery and expand to local restaurants and the local community,” George said. “Word-of-mouth has been very good for us.”

The Murrays have won numerous gold and silver medals in amateur wine making contests and will be entering some of their wines in international competitions this year.

“The petite sirah people just love,” George said. “The chardonnay sauvignon is very popular. The merlot has gotten big comments on its big, full-body flavor. The cab franc people love. It’s a hard-to-find crowd-pleaser.”


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