Wine Country Real Estate – Building Blocks

Sonoma & Napa Real Estate Essentials

Learning more about wine country real estate – building blocks / foundation will certainly help when making a final buying or selling decision.  Before we even start to evaluate a luxury estate, winery or country home we have to take a look at several factors from the ground up:  vineyard value, plantable land value and the site (home or winery) value.

These three factors can present a myriad of different values, questions and debate… especially in Sonoma and Napa County’s where the values can have a dramatic variance.


(watch the video for more details)
Vineyard, Plantable Land, and Site (home / winery)


Believe it or not the site value is the most valuable component of a piece of land in wine country.  The site could be considered a home site or potentially a winery site.  The size of the site could range anywhere from half an acre to several acres.  This site value alone can range anywhere from nearly nothing to $5,000,000 or more!  Yes, it’s true… and valuable.  The better the view, accessibility, privacy yet proximity to creature comforts drive the site value up.  There are some parcels that have no site value because there is not ability to build or develop, for instance if a property sits in a severe flood zone.


Vineyards in wine country are not all the same.  Of course they all produce some of our favorite wines but different locations, varietals, age and condition can make a huge difference in their market price. The range of vineyard prices in Sonoma and Napa County can range from $60,000 / acre to more than $300,000 / acre.

Plantable Land

As with vineyards, all plantable land is not the same.  Different soils, location and potential all come into play, even within the same Appellation.

Variance in Value – County to County & within AVA

Prices paid for these building blocks vary tremendously from one area to another.  For instance, crossing the county line from Sonoma to Napa County, vineyard prices in some areas automatically double and then some.  Even within the same Appellation (AVA) prices can show an impressive lack of consistency.  The factors that drive this variance include the micro climate, soils, rootstock, varietals, quality, vineyard designation, water resources etc..
Keeping this in mind, let’s take a closer look at both Sonoma and Napa County current market values.  But first I want to thank The American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers for providing the industry with unbiased and useable data.

Sonoma County

Sonoma continues to show strong demand for vineyard and luxury properties. The highest price / market vineyards have been located in the cool climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay regions such as the Russian River and Sonoma Coast Appellations, selling at record highs.  Even so there are additional outliers in other appellation for super premium vineyards, in areas like the Alexander Valley and Sonoma Valley. Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon is no slouch.  The key drivers are the Appellation (AVA) and vineyard designation that are important to buyers.

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Real Estate Conditions

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Sonoma County American Viticultural Areas (Appellations)

Russian River AppellationSonoma Coast AppellationAlexander Valley AppellationDry Creek Appellation
Green Valley AppellationSonoma Valley AppellationSonoma Mountain AppellationBennett Valley Appellation
Knights Valley AppellationRock Pile AppellationWest Sonoma CoastSonoma Carneros Appellation
Chalk Hill AppellationPine Mountain Cloverdale Peak Appellation

Sonoma County Real Estate Values

Vineyards$60,000 - $125,000 / Acre
Plantable Land$35,000 - $85,000 / Acre
Site (Home / Winery)$0 -$3,100,000

Napa County

The world famous Napa Valley continues to consistently deliver the highest market prices by far.  Both wineries and luxury real estate seekers are scrambling to find their piece of the valley.  Cabernet is still king.

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A map of the different Napa Valley Appellations

For our purposes and to better understand the Napa Valley real estate market, the Napa Valley is divided into three sections: Prime Napa Valley, Secondary Napa Valley, and Outlying Napa ValleyAn important note, some Secondary areas demand Prime Napa Valley prices due to the unique Area Specific and quality coming from that particular vineyard.  We will get into the details below.

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Three segments of the Napa Valley

Prime Napa Valley Appellations

Saint Helena AppellationRutherford AppellationOakville Appellation
Stags Leap AppellationDiamond Mountain AppellationSpring Mountain Appellation
Howell Mountain Appellation

Prime Napa Valley Appellation Values

Vineyards$200,000 -$320,000+ / Acre
Plantable Land$100,000 - $190,000+ / Acre
Site (Home / Winery)$1,000,000$5,000,000

Secondary Napa Valley Appellations

Calistoga AppellationYountville AppellationOak Knoll Appellation
Coombsville AppellationMount Veeder AppellationAtlas Peak Appellation
Wild Horse Valley AppellationNapa Carneros Appellation

Secondary Napa Valley Appellation Values

Vineyards$100,000 - $220,000+ / Acre
Plantable Land$50,000 - $100,000+ / Acre
Sites (Home / Winery)$250,000 - $1,000,000+

Outlying Napa Valley Appellations

Chiles - Pope ValleyAmerican Canyon

Outlying Napa Valley Appellation Values

Vineyards$50,000 - $100,000+ / Acre
Plantable Land$25,000 - $50,000+
Sites (Home / Winery)$0 - $350,000+

And there you have it, a quick look into the building blocks of wine country real estate.  This is a fun, intriguing market and an even more interesting place to live.  If you have any questions or thoughts I would certainly like to hear from you.  Cheers!

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