L.A.’s wine scene lacks the pedigree of Northern California’s, but that’s not stopping a new local vintner from bringing her old-world expertise – and vintage name – to town.

Béatrice Cointreau, the great-granddaughter of the founder of her family’s eponymous spirit, has just opened a 5.5-acre winery, Admirable Family Vineyards, on Kanan Dume Road in Malibu.

Cointreau, a member of the Wine Academy of France and formerly chief executive of Champagne Gosset in France, left the country after selling her shares of the business in 2007. Soon after, she said that she was diagnosed with cancer, and after she recovered, she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do next. But her two eldest sons were both living in California and Cointreau wanted to be close to them.

“I fell in love with Malibu,” she said.

Not only did she like the lifestyle, but the terrain inspired Cointreau to tap into her roots and start making wine. She’s just produced two varietals, Vigneronne and Blanc & Blanc, although they’re not yet ready for sale.

Cointreau said the local climate in Malibu, which was recently designated by federal officials as a winemaking region, has a lot of similarities to the Provence region of France.

“The wines are kind of blossoming,” she said. “It’s very interesting to see the parallel between here and the Provence area. We have very mild winters, it’s dry and the native plants are very similar.”

– Matt Pressberg

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