Living in the Napa Valley and selling real estate here, the value per acre for vineyard land is a constant topic brought up. When I first started selling real estate here, and I am really dating myself, the first prices I can remember were around $40,000 per acre for vineyards which were consider good to very good in quality and $60,000 per acre for the premium stuff.
During the recent real estate boom, the highest price I have ever heard of was nearly $325,000 per acre but this was truly an exception. Most of the premium vineyards during 2004 to 2006 were around $250,000 per acre. Given the recent turn of events in real estate and the glut in wine grapes, one would think prices for vineyard land would be down nearly the same 40 to 50 per cent as is the case for many other real estate values here.
But this is not the case. An acre of prime Napa Valley vineyard has been selling consistently for around $250,000 per acre and in one of the most published recent sales, December 2010, Andy Beckstoffer paid between $3.6 and $3.9 million for 13.25 acres. This was no ordinary vineyard but the renown Bourn/Hayne Vineyard just south of the City of St. Helena. Depending on the actual price paid, this is very close to $300,000 per acre. Though Beckstoffer would not disclose the actual price he paid, he did say the price “was probably the second highest price for land that I’ve ever heard of in the Napa Valley.” The only other property he knew was higher is the price Francis Ford Coppola paid for the Inglenook property.
In comparison to some other areas in California for vineyard land, Napa commands by far the highest in the state. From an article in yesterdays Napa Register here are some prices per acre of vineyard land in the state:
- Sonoma County as high as $125,000
- Monterey County topped out at $38,000
- San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties $57,000
Many properties sold here are sold based upon the amount of “plantable land” there is. Often sellers will hire one of the local vineyard development companies to do a survey of their land and develop a plantable area map and then price the property based upon this figure. Generally, non-planted vineyard land is going somewhere between $50,000 to $125,000 per acre.
Many properties here in the Napa Valley are sold as a second, third home sites and there is a very large value given for this portion of the sale. This figure can be $500,000 for a home site in a peripheral area to $1,500,000 or more for one located in a prime area. Since nothing over 30 % slope can be developed or replanted and Napa County requires an Erosion Control Plan for planting land between 5 and 30 % slope which costs tens of thousands of dollars and can take up to three years to complete, there truly is a limited amount of land that can become vineyards.
Though the above figures above are only for vineyard land only, you can quickly begin to do the math for many estate properties with vineyards or vineyard potential and hopefully you will get a better understand of the pricing dynamics for “vineyard properties” here in the Napa Valley. I know this may be discouraging for some of us who would like to have that small vineyard estate, but there is always the wine. We can sit upon our favorite knoll, sip some of the best nectar in the world and daydream while over looking heaven. Prost!
Thank you for reading this post. If I can ever be of help in finding you the perfect property here in the Napa Valley, please email me at Curtis@NapaValleyAddress.com.
Your Broker Extraordinaire, selling Napa Valley Real Estate from its heart, Yountville.