Born to Hollywood’s golden couple, Fred MacMurray and June Haver, Katherine MacMurray has been making her own legacy in the wine industry. Renowned for her work with the MacMurray Estate Vineyards, Katherine’s journey is a testament to her passion for wine, her commitment to preserving her family’s heritage, and her love for the Sonoma community.
Hollywood Ties and Childhood Memories
Katherine’s introduction to the world came with a touch of Hollywood glamour. Born to Fred MacMurray and June Haver, two famed Hollywood actors, Katherine’s life was intertwined with the entertainment industry from the start. But it wasn’t Hollywood that captured her heart; instead, it was the beautiful ranch her parents brought her home to when she was just six-weeks old that shaped her future.
Fred MacMurray, an accomplished actor and musician, fell in love with the Russian River area’s beautiful landscapes and quaint charm. He bought property in the early 1940s, which eventually became the MacMurray Ranch. This ranch, where Katherine spent her childhood, is now synonymous with exceptional Pinot Noir.
From the Silver Screen to the Vineyard
After a career in acting, screenwriting, and film production, Katherine returned to her roots. The Russian River Valley, where her childhood memories were embedded in the oak trees and the rolling hills, beckoned her back.
The mid-1990s marked a significant change for the MacMurray Ranch. Gallo Wines bought the property, and the first wine grapes were planted on the land that had been home to cattle for years. Today, the 1,500-acre property is a flourishing vineyard, with 450 acres dedicated to Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris vines.
Preserving the MacMurray Ranch Legacy
Katherine has been instrumental in preserving the ranch’s historical integrity. The original buildings have been meticulously restored, and the property remains home to old-growth oaks, redwood trees, birds, and indigenous wildlife.
“This land has been dedicated to agriculture for more than 150 years, so it gives me great pleasure to see that legacy continue.” — Katherine MacMurray
As the spokesperson for MacMurray Estate Vineyards, Katherine actively participates in the Taste of Sonoma event hosted at the ranch every Labor Day Weekend. She loves sharing the story of MacMurray Ranch and the exceptional Pinot Noir grapes it produces.
A Delicious Legacy: Tuscan-Style Chicken Under a Brick
Katherine’s influence extends beyond the vineyard to the culinary world. One of the delightful recipes she endorses is the Tuscan-Style Chicken Under a Brick. This dish, a hallmark of California cuisine, pairs perfectly with the MacMurray Ranch 2008 Sonoma Coast Pinot Gris.
- 1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 tablespoon stemmed fresh rosemary leaves
- 1/2 tablespoon stemmed fresh sage leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
- 1 whole chicken (3-1/2 to 4 lbs)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, for serving
- 1 lemon, cut in wedges, for serving
- 1 brick wrapped in aluminum foil or metal grill press
- Place 1 whole chicken, breast side down, on a work surface
- Starting at the thigh end, cut along one side of backbone with kitchen shears
- Turn chicken around; cut along other side. Discard or save backbone for stock
- Flip chicken over and open it like a book. Press firmly on breastbone to flatten
- Run the tip of a paring knife along the breastbone and cartilage below the breastbone. Run your thumbs along both sides of the breastbone and cartilage and pull them out
- Cut small slits in the skin of the bird behind the legs and tuck the drumsticks into them in order to hold them in place
The Hollywood Connection
The MacMurray family’s Hollywood connections often brought stars like John Wayne, Bob Hope, Walt Disney, and Robert Young to the ranch. These interactions, combined with her father’s successful acting career, influenced Katherine’s early interest in film production.
Despite his success in Hollywood, Fred MacMurray’s true love was his family. He balanced his acting career with his family life by adopting a revolutionary filming schedule for his TV show, My Three Sons.
A Connection to the Community
Katherine has made Sonoma County her home. She supports various local causes and organizations, including the local equestrian community, the Healdsburg Museum and Historical Society, and many others.
Celebrating Father’s Day with Disney
In a recent talk held for Father’s Day, Katherine shared her childhood memories of Walt Disney and her father’s close friendship with him. She spoke fondly of Fred MacMurray, who played the quintessential American dad in many prominent acting roles.
Katherine MacMurray Today
Today, Katherine is actively engaged in Sonoma’s thriving wine community and several local charities. She is also a creative writer, currently working on a collection of fictional short stories, and continues to be the spokesperson for MacMurray Estate Vineyards.
Katherine MacMurray is a shining example of how one can honor their family legacy while carving out their own path. Her work with MacMurray Estate Vineyards, her dedication to the Sonoma community, and her commitment to preserving her family’s history are testaments to her passion and resilience.
From the rolling hills of the MacMurray Ranch to the silver screens of Hollywood, Katherine MacMurray’s life is a story of legacy, passion, and fine wine. And as she continues to weave her narrative, one thing is certain: the legacy of the MacMurray family lives on, one vine at a time.