Church Estate Vineyards

June 2, 2009

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I’m recovering from two fabulous weddings in the past two weeks (pictures coming soon!) and was able to take yesterday afternoon to rejuvenate and explore an amazing new venue out in Malibu. A few weeks ago I received a slender box in the mail. I opened it and my day was made by a beautiful handmade invitation covered in dried flower petals by Petalos Di Pauli cushioned in dried Hydrangea petals. Invitations that lovely definitely mark a special occasion and I immediately RSVP’d! It was an invitation to a private luncheon held for a select number of wedding professionals at Church Estate Vineyards, a private estate in Malibu that has recently started booking exclusive events (Fergie of The Blackeyed Peas was their first bride!).

Maja Church Haggstrom of Church Estate, Party Designs by Carol, and Creative Consultant Farla Binder coordinated the event. Good Gracious Events catered the luncheon and we were wined and dined in style! The afternoon started out with cocktails by the boat house, complete with swans swimming to the music provided by Rick Howard Music. Luncheon was served up on the terrace at the house and the tables were beautiful with purple linens with cutout flowers sewn on by Wildflower Linen and soft pink rose and hydrangea centerpieces by Mille Fiori Floral Design. Classic Party Rentals provided all rentals and Henshall Photography captured the day. After a delicious luncheon, we were taken on tours of the incredible property. My favorite part of the tour was meeting Sailor, the carrot-loving Thoroughbred. I fell in love with him and think we’re soul mates.

Below is a more accurate description of the estate. It is phenomenal!

Church Estate Vineyards: European Elegance with Malibu Style

October 02, 2008

Driving up to the main house at Church Estate Vineyards, visitors forget where they are. Instead of the sand and surf of Malibu, Church Estate Vineyards resembles a Monet landscape. The 8,000 square foot French chateau is surrounded by nine acres of gardens and vineyards planted with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. Below, a clay tennis court echoes the French Open courts at Roland Garros. Inside, rooms are furnished with French antiques and panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

In many ways, the property looks as if it has always been there. But Church Estate Vineyards is actually the creation of California entrepreneur Robert Church Haggstrom, who purchased the property in 2003, envisioning it as a retreat for friends and family. After spending four years creating the estate, Haggstrom has partnered with his daughter Maja, to make the property available to others on a very limited basis. It is an ideal location for any occasion that is special enough to merit an exclusive, once-in a-lifetime setting.

‘Sharing the beauty of this place is very important to me,’ Haggstrom says. ‘It’s really quite magical.’

A native of California, Haggstrom spent more than two decades in the mortgage business. In 2002, he sold a portion of his company to Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, and embarked on the next chapter of his life.

For Haggstrom, it was important that what he did next had meaning beyond financial success. Ten years ago, Robert was critically injured in a body-surfing accident, breaking his neck.He survived and embarked on a spiritual journey that he believes brought him to the land that is now Church Estate Vineyards.

‘After I was injured I understood what life had to offer me,’ Haggstrom says. ‘I realized how important it is to slow down and spend time with friends and family, and to surround oneself with beauty. I was determined to enjoy every moment of every day. This place has helped me do that.’

Haggstrom took his cues from the natural contours of the landscape to create a sanctuary of vineyards, vistas, gardens, winding pathways and multi-level stone patios. Mature trees offer gentle shade, and an enchanting combination of European and California florals fill every inch of the property.

A 500-foot stream flows over two waterfalls before feeding into a small lake. There, visitors will find a cozy, rustic lakeside boathouse.

The same attention to detail can be seen in the estate’s interiors. The chateau is furnished with French fabrics, 15th century fireplaces and antiques from around the world. A custom-designed wine cellar, floored with stone from first-century Cypress, houses the world’s best wines and will soon feature Church Estate Vineyard’s first vintage – a Chardonnay that will be released in 2008 and a Pinot Noir slated for mid-2009. An exquisite professional kitchen can be used as a staging area for caterers or as a fantasy kitchen for guests who want to nurture their inner chef. Adding to the charm of the property are horse stables and a romantic carriage house retreat, perfect for a honeymooning couple.

The walled estate, with a complete security system, offers guests the ultimate private venue for special events, weddings, corporate retreats, motion picture filming and television production.

For more information and inquiries, call (310) 457-0600 or e-mail

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