The Hitchcock Legacy

Dial V for Vineyard

With impressive filmography and classic blockbusters such as Dial M for Murder, Hitchcock’s legacy goes on. Other than for his creative life, the filmmaker is remembered for his foundation and surprisingly as a grape grower, the revival of his vineyard leading to a new label by the name of his hideaway in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Hitchcock The Filmmaker

Hitchcock’s legacy as a professional thrill-maker was widely celebrated with two Golden Globes, eight Laurel Awards, and no less than five-lifetime achievements awards. He was nominated five times for Best Director and his iconic film Rebecca afforded him the Oscar for Best Picture. He also has not one but two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame—one for film and one for television. And besides a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth in 1980, his other claim to fame is in holding the record for the longest kiss ever filmed, in 1942.

The Hitchcock Personal Legacy

The legacy that was likely closest to his heart is the family drama that led to his involvement with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Earlier this year the Hitchcock family was recognized for committing to finding a cure for cystic fibrosis. On November 7, 2009, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation will hold the Inaugural Alfred Hitchcock Tribute Gala fundraiser. The theme, A Culinary Event with California Wine Masters, would have delighted the life-loving man with the iconic silhouette.

The Alfred J. Hitchcock Foundation

This year is a special anniversary of Hitchcock’s birth; he would have been 110 years old. Fundraising events have nevertheless been an ongoing mission of the Hitchcock family Foundation, headed by Patricia Hitchcock O’Connell, his only daughter. The foundation also supports the USC School of Drama. Besides, the Seascape golf course in Aptos, near Santa Cruz, and the set for the thriller The Birds, holds the annual Alfred Hitchcock Memorial Golf Tournament.

Hitchcock The Grape Grower

Hitchcock indeed left his imprint on the historic estate Heart O’ the Mountain, located high in a glen of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

The Hitchcocks emigrated from England to California in 1940 to direct the film Rebecca (Alma Hitchcock assisted on all projects). They fell in love with the Bay Area and wanted a weekend retreat near San Francisco. Joan Fontaine—who starred in the film with Lawrence Olivier—guided them to the Vine Hill area.

The area already produced prized wines in the late 1800s and early 1900s, so Hitchcock continued the tradition although he only grew the grapes, selling his first crop over Christmas of 1950.

There, Alfred and Alma regularly entertained Hollywood celebrities—and royalty. The thrill crafter had a passion for good vintages and was known for treating his friends with such generosity that everyone ended up falling apart.

Ultimately, after 34 years, it was time to sell their hideaway. The vineyard went dormant until,  two owners later, Robert and Judy Brassfield released a pinot noir, under the label Heart O’ the Mountain. Today, it stands as another tribute to the bucolic life on what had been Hitchcock’s beloved retreat. 

  First published 2009


Alfred Hitchcock in the Santa Cruz Mountains (Permission Brassfield/Hitchcock O’Connell)