The Napa Valley is no One Trick Pony

So you’re thinking about taking the plunge, living the dream and purchasing your own Napa Valley vineyard estate. Congratulations, it is an amazing place to live.   When it comes to wine, based on all the media, reviews and other hoopla you couldn’t be blamed for thinking the Napa Valley is a one trick pony… Cabernet Sauvignon. Cab is king, Cabernet is expensive, Cabernet Sauvignon is oh so good. To be sure, Cabernet is not the only premium wine grape that grows in the Napa Valley. Surrounding mountains, nooks, crannies and off the beaten path hideaways provide perfect growing conditions for high-end vineyards. Does that sound surprising? It shouldn’t, because the Napa Valley has all the right ingredients to produce any number of varietals at a world-class quality.

So you are considering your future vineyard estate; there is the setting, the view, of course a lovely home and last but not least the vineyard. The question surfaces, will my future vineyard only consist of Cabernet Sauvignon?   While Cabernet Sauvignon is the most popular and pays top dollar, currently at $7,500 County Avg  / ton, it is good to know that you can have other varietals in your vineyard too.



When considering locations the Napa Valley  is probably one of the more straightforward regions as far as micro-climates go. Perhaps oversimplified but useful the temperature goes from cool to warm to hot as you move north through the valley, from Napa to Calistoga. This is not to say that there is a lack of distinct nuance throughout the valley, bench lands and mountains. But, for our purposes today it basically goes from cool in the southern Carneros region just outside the city of Napa to hot up in Calistoga. The Carneros Appellation  sits near the cool waters of the San Pablo Bay. The marine influence is strong here. This climate is perfect for white varietals like Chardonnay and lighter reds like Pinot Noir. Both still and sparking wines (our version of Champagne) dot the flat to rolling hills of Carneros.

Moving a little further north towards the Oak Knoll Appellation the temperature picks up a few degrees and you start to find a mix of varietals including Chardonnay, Merlot, and even a relative new comer to the area… Cabernet Sauvignon.

Up valley beyond Youtville into Oakville, Rutherford and Saint Helena, this part of the valley is mostly known for you guessed it ultra premium Cabernet Sauvignon. However just above Saint Helena grows not so much a secret but more of surprise in small coveted amounts, world class Pinot Noir . On the slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains small cool pockets at elevation within the Spring Mountain AVA  provide for unique growing conditions for this cool climate red.

Over on the other side of the Napa Valley on Howell Mountain (also know for cult quality Cabernet) grows an old California favorite, Zinfandel. Fun Fact: The Howell Mountain AVA was the first sub AVA created within the Napa Valley AVA back in 1983. Back before prohibition, the region was mostly known for Zinfandel.

Then we go all the way to the northern and hottest part of the valley, Calistoga. You guessed it, this part of the Napa Valley is also known for premium Cabernet Sauvignon. But don’t fret, many other varietals grow in the region including Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc, Merlot Sauvignon Blanc etc…   And for the record most of these varietals along with many others grow throughout the entirety of the Napa Valley.

Long story short, if you want to grow premium Cabernet Sauvignon in your vineyard it is hard to go wrong in the Napa Valley. But if you want to mix things up a bit, the valley and surrounding mountains will produce world-class wines grapes from just about any varietal.   The Napa Valley is just that kind of place and far from a one trick pony.


David Ashcraft

Wine Country Real Estate Update Summer 2023

Happy August!  A cooler than average growing season after major winter rains has been a welcome pattern this summer.  I hope you have been soaking it up.  On the real estate front the market has several competing variables creating an interesting dynamic to say the least.  On the one hand, we are challenged with the […]... Read more

Green Shoots in 2023, and Which AVA Came First?

Winter 2023 First things first, Happy 2023!  Another year to enjoy this beautiful area we call home.  With more than two decades of selling wine country real estate, I am still in awe of our backyard.  The dynamic landscape is a constant reminder of the amazing diversity throughout Sonoma and Napa Counties, from the Pacific […]... Read more

Napa and Sonoma Real Estate 2022

Happy Winter of 2022 The Dream Lives on in Napa / Sonoma and Further Afield –  Real Estate Another exciting year is underway as we approach Spring.  With pruning behind us, we anticipate bud break in the coming months. The cycle continues. Before going any further, I have to say last Fall was just stunning! […]... Read more

Sonoma and Napa Winter 2021

Light on the Horizon Dust Settles During the Sonoma and Napa Winter 2021 If there is one thing we have learned over the last several years, it is that wine country is resilient.  Wildfires, economic uncertainty, politics and a worldwide pandemic have all conspired to shake our core, especially in 2020.  But here we are, […]... Read more

Moving Forward – Sonoma and Napa Real Estate 2020

Clearly, we are enduring an unprecedented challenge with Covid-19 health issues and associated economic impact.    As a community I am sure we will ultimately arrive at a   destination that resembles the wine country that we all know and love.... Read more

Opportunities and Challenges in Napa and Sonoma

No doubt, the last few years have been good in wine country with increasing wine grape and real estate prices. While things are still good in wine country, there have been some changes in the market over the last six months.... Read more

Buyers Compete In Sellers Market, Spring 2017

So what are the current real estate values in wine country? The latest information shows continued price increases across the board. Even the median home price in Sonoma County has doubled in the last five years.... Read more

Things That Make Wine Country Awesome

Let’s focus on the positive. After more than a year of the most bizarre political theater in memory, it is time to put the circus back in the tent… at least for a moment. Your sanity will thank you. ... Read more

The Changing Landscape of Vineyard Financing

David Ashcraft, broker and founder of Vintroux Real Estate, said he’s still seeing plenty of interest in both wineries and vineyards in Napa and Sonoma, and noted that“Wineries are continuing to plan for the future and lock down sources of fruit.” ... Read more

Wine Country Real Estate Financing Options – Sonoma & Napa Counties

Wine Country Financing Options – Sonoma & Napa Counties One of the key components of purchasing a wine country property, whether it is a vineyard, estate, winery or bare land is the capital used to make the acquisition.  Many buyers are going to require some sort of financing for a purchase or perhaps a line […]... Read more

Sonoma And Napa Real Estate Values 2019

We are currently observing vineyard estates, luxury homes and vineyards come on the market for various reasons. Locally, multiple high-profile Silicon Valley IPOs are going public and sellers are hoping to capitalize on newly minted millionaires.... Read more

Survey Says – 2018 Harvest Was Abundant – Grape Prices

The numbers are in and they tell a story of abundance.  The 2018 wine grape harvest in Sonoma and Napa Counties was bountiful by any standard and the quality is equally outstanding.  Each year we provide a breakdown of the current weighted average wine grape prices for popular varietals in Sonoma and Napa.     […]... Read more