Ever dream of putting down roots among the vines in Napa County? You’re not alone. Basking in a Mediterranean climate and embraced by the scenic Mayacamas and Vaca Mountains, Napa has long attracted aspiring homeowners eager to live in wine country. It doesn’t hurt that it’s conveniently located only fifty miles northeast of bustling San Francisco.
“The sense of community and the quality of life are what draw many to want to live and work in Napa Valley,” says Linsey Gallagher, President and CEO of Visit Napa Valley. “Visitors come from all over the world to experience our Napa Valley ‘good life.’ As residents, we get to experience it every day.”
According to Cyd Greer of Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley, there are plenty other things drawing potential homebuyers. “New resorts in Calistoga, amazing restaurants in Yountville, the resurgence of Napa city’s old town which started with the Oxbow market and other development along the Napa River,” she says. “The Vine Trail, which is a biking and hiking trail, is now connected from Napa to Yountville with efforts in place to expand further up valley.”
Of course, that good Napa life comes at a cost. The current median sale price for a single-family home currently stands at a whopping $930,000 and can soar above $15 million for more elaborate properties. But dreamers can dream, and with houses ranging from vintage bungalows to stunning contemporary estates, there’s a wish-worthy place to match any wine lover’s architectural taste.
The 1875 Lawley Cottage in Calistoga benefitted from a complete refresh in 2011, and it’s available today for $1.25 million. With two bedrooms and two baths tucked into a compact 1,166 square feet, the one-story home has hardwood floors and a front porch waiting for rocking chairs. It’s an easy stroll to the town’s wine tasting rooms, shops and restaurants.
“Napa County’s ‘Up Valley’ area of Calistoga is seeing a tremendous surge in popularity,” says Arthur Goodrich of Sotheby’s International Realty. “Home prices are roughly 20% below neighboring St. Helena. And with the expansion of the Sonoma County airport, visitors are finding it easier to get to Napa Valley, making Calistoga the first port of entry.”
A trio of vintage-mod bungalows built in 2018 is on the market for $3,499,975 in Calistoga. Mixing Craftsman style with a playful color palette, each one-bed-one-bath home features high ceilings, hardwood floors, custom tile work and a fireplace. Currently marketed as a boutique wine-country retreat, the three individual dwellings would also be ideal for a live-slash-rent combination or a groovy, multi-gen getaway.
What’s more charming than a farmhouse? Thanks to Napa’s agricultural heritage, here you’ll find historical farmhouses to tempt today’s home-seekers. New farmhouse-inspired homes have also become popular. “Many of our buyers come from a young demographic and they typically prefer the modern barn or modern farmhouse style, which combines modern with rustic and features great indoor-outdoor living,” Greer says.
That’s exactly the mix you’ll find at this new farmhouse in St. Helena, priced at $4.95 million. The 3,979-square-foot, four-bedroom home has a seriously sophisticated kitchen with black marble countertops and high-end appliances from Gaggenau and Hestan. Outdoors, there’s a 40-foot swimming pool and a sunken conversation pit with fire feature. And that extra building out back? It’s a two-bedroom guest house.
If you’re looking for a true Napa original, check out the 1870 Yellow Farmhouse on St. Helena’s Main Street, which is hitting the market for the first time in 50 years at $5.5 million. The nostalgic farmhouse is family-ready, with three bedrooms, three baths, two living rooms and a 12-foot-wide, wraparound porch that’s perfect for spending lazy afternoons sipping wine. Guests can sleep in a one-bedroom cottage or enjoy the converted three-story water tower, which comes complete with an artist studio.
The trend toward farmhouses coincides with a growing preference for wine-country homes that are less palatial. “We see so many new homes with the grand spaces and great rooms with overbearing volume,” says Goodrich. “I see an interest from clients in properties that offer comfortable spaces with more rightly scaled rooms.”
Flat-roofed and phenomenal, this contemporary St. Helena home designed by Regan Bice Architects is listed at $14.5 million. The 6,136-square-foot residence was built in 2017 on 59.68 acres and offers panoramic views of Napa Valley, Spring Mountain’s vineyards and both Mt. Diablo and Mt. St. Helena. The interiors are minimalist-elegant with walls of windows, three en-suite bedrooms, a media room that doubles as a bunk room, four full baths, two half baths, an elevator and a temperature-controlled wine room. Outside, there’s an infinity pool, bocce court and a 1,073-square-foot guest house.
If you’re the sociable type who likes big gatherings, then maybe you need to consider a compound comprised of numerous residences. In Napa County, you’ll have fabulous options including this $18.5 million Calistoga compound with an unconventional backstory.
“It’s a one-of-a-kind property that originally housed a boutique boys school and that has been transformed into a true living and entertaining compound with multiple structures perfect for large families or friends, or ideal for a corporate retreat,” says Arthur Goodrich. The buildings include a contemporary, two-bedroom home designed by Howard Backen, two beautifully updated guest bungalows, a pool house and a two-office structure that once served the school’s administrators—for a total of six bedrooms and eight baths in 8,950 square feet of living space. There’s also a tennis court, pool, spring-fed pond and 46.72 acres of forest and gardens—including 6.3 acres planted with Cabernet grapes.
For laid-back luxury with traditional European flair, there’s an idyllic 40-acre compound overlooking Lake Hennessey on the market for $19.5 million. The main, four-bedroom, six-bath, 8,500-square-foot house is graced with French limestone floors, Venetian plaster walls, wooden beams, custom ironwork and a spacious wine cellar. Two one-bedroom guest houses join a 60-foot pool, tennis court, bocce court, fountain and gardens on the compound’s extensive grounds.
Out Of This World
When the sky’s the limit, why not take a look at the Meteor Vineyard Estate? Just look at this place! It’s a $35 million, gated compound in the Coombsville region with three stunning contemporary buildings on 34 acres. Bonus? The price tag also includes an esteemed vineyard.
The structures—including a four-bedroom main residence and a three-bedroom secondary residence, plus a studio (which amounts to a total 13,250 square feet of space)—were designed by Cutler Anderson Architects and built in 2005, integrating rammed earth walls. The home’s clean-lined interiors are elegantly simple, showcasing the natural beauty of wood, with generous windows framing rolling vineyard views.
We can dream, can’t we?