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
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! The arrival of early and plentiful rains ushered in an amazing color palette with brilliant green hills and dramatic Fall colors among the trees and vineyards. The magnificence of wine country was on full display. I hope you enjoyed the show as much as I did. Fall of 2021 was a big reminder of why we all love wine country.
Positive Influences On The Market
During the last year, the Napa and Sonoma real estate market has been robust and this looks to continue through 2022. Lifestyle buyers have been out in force supported by remote work trends, covid refugees looking for more space and general affordability compared to San Francisco and Silicon Valley. The natural beauty of wine country and access to top tier creature comforts is an added bonus. The region continues to see a rebound in wine grape sales. An improved wine grape market helps support interest and viability in smaller vineyards for lifestyle buyers and larger vineyard acquisitions by industry players. This is positive news after the slim 2020 harvest, followed by the 2021 harvest that was diminished by drought. The silver lining – the 2021 vintage looks outstanding and wineries are realigning their strategies to lock in supply through contracts, purchasing quality land and vineyards to secure future stock. This is a “rising tide lifts all boats” kind of market.
The Dream Lives On
Wine country continues to be highly desirable, not only by those looking for a second or third home to enjoy an unmatched lifestyle but also by those that are interested in getting into the business. There are several approaches to the wine growing business. Some are looking to focus on farming and selling their grapes, taking advantage of favorable tax structures. Others are looking to take the plunge by starting from scratch: growing wine grapes, making wine, creating their own brand and ramping up sales. Then there are those that take the middle ground, a more practical approach, and look for a successful vineyard, winery and / or wine brand that already has a proven track record of building on existing relationships, cashflow and pedigree. Each of these approaches has its rewards and challenges but there is certainly more than one path to becoming involved in the wine business.
Wine country is a magical landscape with one gorgeous setting after another. No matter where you land, it is sure to be special. The super-premium areas of Napa and Sonoma Counties are still the most sought after, such as Howell Mountain and Rutherford in the Napa Valley or Russian River and Alexander Valleys in Sonoma County. These are just several of many outstanding growing areas throughout the region. As one might expect, prices and values have continued to rise over time. For some, current values put the dream out of reach. That is, unless you look a little further afield for areas that also provide beautiful scenery and quality wine grape growing. You might just consider the Sierra Foothills, located between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe, including up and coming wine regions like El Dorado and Amador Counties.
The Sierra Foothills region has a long history of growing wine grapes since the California gold rush of the 1840’s and has recently been gaining more attention for its quality / value ratio. High elevation areas like Apple Hill and Fair Play in El Dorado County have numerous wineries. Not far away are the rolling hills of Shenandoah Valley in Amador County with 40 wineries easily accessible by multiple wine roads. The Sierra Foothills provides an opportunity for those with a smaller budget but looking for many of the attributes found in Napa and Sonoma. If you are looking for a hidden gem, this may be where you find it.
The long and the short of it is that we are looking at another exciting year in wine country. If you are thinking about selling, I have clients looking for premium vineyards, vineyard estates and wineries. I am happy to speak on a confidential basis to answer your questions. Please contact me if you would like to discuss. In the meantime, pray for more rain and enjoy the rest of the year ahead.