Napa and Sonoma County Real Estate: market elements, vineyard values, and wine grape prices.

The bustling Napa and Sonoma County real estate market continues to thrive into summer 2016.

In this newsletter we are going to highlight various elements that drive market value. Furthermore we will share the most recent statistics on vineyard values and wine grape prices of popular varietals.  This will hopefully be a resource you can use and refer to over the coming months and years.

Let’s start by taking a look at the four elements of Market Value: Land & Improvements, Economy, Scarcity, and Location.

Elements Of Market Value


Elements of Market Value Real Estate

Land & Improvements

Quality, condition and utility. Quality pertains to whether we are valuing a luxury estate, a charming farmhouse or a double wide trailer. Quality can also reflect whether the vineyard / soil produces average or super premium grapes.  Condition takes into account if we are looking at new construction, a recently remodeled home or an A-Frame with vintage 1978 shag carpet. The condition of a vineyard is important as well. Are the vines newly planted with disease resistant rootstock or were they planted in 1980 with AXR–1? Utility is a key factor in functional use. Is the property move-in ready? Is the land usable for additional improvements and agriculture? What is the zoning and do entitlements exist?


The general economy, wine industry and Silicon Valley are key indicators in our local market. All three segments have a direct effect on our region. When the economy grows, consumers purchase higher priced wine keeping wine grape prices stable or increasing.  An improved economy also allows people to pursue their dreams of purchasing a vineyard, vineyard estate or winery. As the economy expands or contracts, the real estate markets tend to follow suit.


Scarcity really boils down to the age old drivers of commerce, supply and demand. If a type of property is scarce and in demand, the price simply goes up.  Premium Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards fall into this category. The scarcity of these premium quality varietals has pushed vineyard prices and grape prices to new highs.  Market sales give us a snapshot of the battle between supply and demand. When supply outstrips demand, prices stabilize or fall.


Location, location, location! Numerous factors make a great location including accessibility, desirability and usability. Visibly clear and easily navigable access close to creature comforts in a nice setting tends to be attractive. On the other hand, there are those that enjoy steep, narrow roadways with blind corners. The desirability of a location is usually tied to the setting, the access and the “right” address.  Last but certainly not least is the usability of the location. Is the zoning appropriate for the location? For example, a parcel located on a busy roadway with numerous businesses that is zoned for retail and commercial purposes would be much more usable than if the parcel were zoned single family residential.

Vineyard, Plantable Land & Site Values

Next we have the current values for vineyard, plantable land and site values throughout Napa and Sonoma counties. As you can see from the graph below, the values have a dramatic range. Napa County is broken down into three segments: Primary, Secondary and Outlying. The highest prices are being paid for super premium Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards in the primary areas like Rutherford and Howell Mountain where vineyards are being sold for upwards of $400k / acre. In Sonoma County Pinot Noir is leading the charge for highest prices, we are seeing super premium vineyards trade at $150,000 + / acre in the Russian River and Sonoma Coast Appellations. There is very high demand for super premium Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir vineyards. The other factor many potential buyers are not aware of is the site value. The site value may very well be the most valuable component of a property. The site value consists of the actual building site potential of a property. The site would be where a home or winery is built.  The location, setting, views, access and entitlements all contribute to the site value. It is safe to say that there is a great deal of nuance in breaking down the value of a property, but this is a good place to start.

Napa and Sonoma Vineyard Real Estate Value Chart

Napa and Sonoma Vineyard Real Estate Value Chart


Napa and Sonoma Real Estate Value Distribution

Napa and Sonoma Real Estate Value Distribution

Sonoma County

Russian River, Green Valley, Sonoma Coast, Fort Ross, Petaluma Gap, Alexander Valley, Bennett Valley, Carneros, Chalk Hill, Dry Creek Valley, Knights Valley, Moon Mountain, Northern Sonoma, Pine Mountain, Rockpile, Sonoma Mountain, Sonoma Valley.

Napa County

Primary:  Oakville, Rutherford, St Helena, Stags Leap, Howell Mountain, Spring Mountain, Diamond Mountain, Pritchard Hill

Secondary:  Calistoga, Yountville, Oak Knoll, Coombsville, Carneros, Atlas Peak, Soda Canyon, Mt Veeder

Outlying:  Chiles Valley, Pope Valley, American Canyon

Napa and Sonoma Real Estate Values 2016 $ Per Acre

Sonoma County
2016 Values2015 Values
Vineyards$70,000 - $150,000 +Vineyards$60,000 -$125,000
Open Plantable Land$45,000 -$100,000Open Plantable Land$35,000 -$85,000
Site (Home / Winery)$0 -$3,100,000Site (Home / Winery)$0 -$3,100,000
Prime Napa Valley Appellation Values
2016 Values2015 Values
Vineyards$250,000 -$370,000 +Vineyards$200,000 -$320,000
Open Plantable Land$130,000 -$200,000 +Open Plantable Land$100,000 -$190,000
Site (Home / Winery)$1,000,000 -$5,000,000Site (Home / Winery)$1,000,000 -$5,000,000
Secondary Napa Valley Appellation Values
2016 Values2015 Values
Vineyards$120,000 -$270,000 +Vineyards$100,000 -$220,000
Open Plantable Land$50,000 - $130,000 +Open Plantable Land$50,000 -$100,000
Site (Home / Winery)$250,000 - $2,000,000 +Site (Home / Winery)$250,000 -$1,000,000+
Outlying Napa Valley Appellation Values
2016 Values2015 Values
Vineyards$50,000 -$120,000 +Vineyards$50,000 -$100,000+
Open Plantable Land$25,000 -$50,000 + Open Plantable Land$25,000 -$50,000+
Site (Home / Winery)$0 -$350,000 + / SiteSite (Home / Winery)$0 -$350,000+
*Data values were sourced from the 2016 Trends In Agricultral Land and Leases, California Chapter ASFMRA

Wine Grape Prices

Last but not least is a list of the 2015 weighted average wine grape prices for popular varietals in Napa and Sonoma Counties. Once again we see Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Sonoma County Pinot Noir bringing in the highest prices. But, lets not forget that virtually all varietals have a positive trend in price / ton appreciation over the last several years.

Napa and Sonoma County Wine Grape Prices

Napa and Sonoma County Wine Grape Prices

2015 Weighted Average Grape Prices, Highs & Lows

Napa County
Cabernet Sauvignon$6,285+$5,926$5,493$48,000$250
Pinot Noir$2,713+$2,604$2,450$8,350$1,700
Merlot$3,135+$2,978 $2,791$55,422 $800
Zinfandel$3,390 +$3,333 $3,145$6,977 $1,200
Syrah$3,224 +$3,175 $3,133$15,414$900
Chardonnay$2,592 +$2,497 $2,474$7,500 $525
Sauvignon Blanc$2,012 +$1,909 $1,899$5,000 $1,000
Sonoma County
Cabernet Sauvignon$2,724 +$2,605 $2,499$30,622 $46
Pinot Noir$3,526 +$3,245 $3,116$17,876 $500
Merlot$1,715 +$1,651 $1,613$14,024 $191
Zinfandel$2,713 +$2,541 $2,492$15,167 $100
Syrah$2,525 +$2,314 $2,297$11,573 $1,100
Chardonnay$2,085 +$1,986 $1,940$11,012 $700
Sauvignon Blanc$1,608 +$1,531 $1,418$9,520 $838

A Final Thought

As summer heats up and our national politicians continue to fill the media with more hot air, remember how lucky we are. Here in wine country, cool evening breezes, a beautiful backdrop and a nice glass of wine will wash away all the nonsense. Don’t forget to call if you are looking to sell or have any questions.

Have a great Summer!

David Ashcraft

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