Wine Country Living

Glen Ellen's Got a New Star

[caption id="attachment_1776" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="The New Kid in Town: Glen Ellen Star Restaurant"][/caption] Yesterday morning I went over to Glen Ellen to check out some new country properties on the Sonoma Broker Tour. As agents we hold our new listings open so that the agent community can preview the new inventory without having to make an appointment. We just show up. Ideally refreshments are provided Sometimes there is a drawing for a bottle of wine or a gift certificate. Yesterday I was able to look at two beautiful new country property listings in Glen Ellen and also to check out the hottest new restaurant in town. Glen Ellen must have one of the highest ratios of restaurants to business establishments of just about anywhere, and now there's a new spot to check out. We ran in to look at the menu--it is only open for dinner. Looks promising. And here is a link to Heather Irwin's first look review in Bite Club, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat foodie blog. Oh, and those new listings were pretty interesting too. The first is on 26 acres on Enterprise Road.  It has a rambling country house with nice views of the surrounding countryside and the horse pasture below the property.  This really is a "Wine Country and Horses" property as it also has a several acre zinfandel vineyard.  You can ride in to Jack London State Park and come home and sip wine from your own property afterwards.  Not a bad combination.  The house was very comfortable with beautiful old wide plank floors and woodwork with a lot of character.  The master suite had some of the best views on the property.  If you want my opinion on the asking price of $4.2 Million, please call me to discuss. [idx-listing mlsnumber="21213674" showfeatures="true" showlocation="true"] The other property is on Chauvet Road and you could easily walk to the Glen Ellen Market or any of the MANY good restaurants in town. You could also get up in to Jack London pretty easily from here as Chauvet runs in to London Ranch Road.  I should do a post on Jack London State Park as it is easily one of the most beautiful and interesting places in Sonoma County, whether you bring your horses or hike or drive in. This particular new listing on Chauvet will probably sell very quickly because it is the type of country property that will strongly appeal to someone...

Wine Country Busman's Holiday: Visiting the "Other" Wine Country in Napa

I had a great time with family and friends on Memorial Day.  What did we do?  We visited the other wine country.  We headed to Napa (the city of) for the afternoon.  Since I live and work primarily in Sonoma County, it is fun to have a getaway in the wine country!    Downtown Napa is quite pretty, and the city and county of Napa are working to increase tourism there.  It doesn't hurt that a whole raft of excellent restaurants are walkable downtown:  Celadon, Angele, Ubuntu (on sabbatical?) and others.  We had a great lunch at Angele, sitting outdoors right on the Napa River.  Angele is a collaboration from Claude Rouas, legendary for L'Etoile on Nob Hill in San Francisco, Auberge de Soleil, further north in Rutherford (one of the most stunningly beautiful settings I have seen for a restaurant) and more recently, Redd in Yountville.  The restaurant is built in an old ship chandlery, right downtown, and a great spot for a delicious but casual lunch or dinner. After lunch we walked a mile or so over to the Oxbow Market and I have a new (for me)  foodie destination for a quick meal or snack when I am in the area.  I would actually drive out of my way to stop here.  Oxbow is a wine country spin on the concept of the Ferry Plaza Marketplace in SF, bringing together food and wine from seafood to ice cream, wine to cheese, charcuterie to fine coffee and more.  Most of the products are locally sourced or from local vendors, following the locavore trend. Anyway, I didn't intend to write a PR puff piece for Napa.  It is just that I live driving over the county line, and feeling like I am on an instant vacation!   Back to your regularly scheduled Sonoma County programming shortly!  ...

Sonoma Horticultural Nursery in Sebastopol

Sonoma Hort (www.sonomahort.com) is a must see but only if you love beauty and lots of flowers, in this case, masses of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, hostas and more, all on 8 acres in South Sebastopol.  The second owners have had it since the seventies and it is a retail/wholesale nursery masquerading as an amazing park, with 1.5 miles of trails winding through it, a pond and a meadow and altogether enough picnic tables and benches to have a lovely meal or snack (Just make sure you take all your leftovers with you.)  Sonoma Hort is just one of many truly special gardens and large scale nurseries which make Sonoma County such a wonderful place to be. ...

Tales of the Wine Country: From the South of France to Healdsburg

Recently I was working with some long term clients who, though American, had been living in Provence for the past seven years, and London prior to that. They decided it was time to return to the states permanently, and had the entire 50 states from which to choose, as they could work anywhere. I was referred to them by an agent to Santa Barbara, who was introduced to me via Twitter through mutual colleagues. A decidedly high tech (at the time in 2009) connection! I had originally met them when they first decided to return to the US from France. I introduced them to all of the beautiful towns and Sonoma and Napa. Unfortunately family stuff kept them in France until recently. We stayed in touch via email and phone--we shared some common interests in good food and wine and they kept an eye on the market. Just recently they decided it was time to return to the US. Of all the places in the world they could go, they chose Healdsburg. I couldn't agree more. Sonoma County and especially Healdsburg is a beautiful place to be. My clients flew in from France to get started on their new home search. It was mid-January and there was almost nothing on the market. They had decided they wanted a quality vintage home walking distance from the Plaza in Healdsburg, ideally with a decent sized lot as they were coming off five acres and loved to garden. Guest quarters and a pool, with some architectural interest and high quality rounded out the bill. Being well connected to our local real estate market, By networking with other realtors all over the county, not just in Healdsburg, I was able to find the perfect property that was not yet listed on the market. I knew it was a good bet when two different agents both suggested it. We had about six properties to look at and a weekend to find them something as the shipping container was shortly to be filled with their possessions and strike out across the Atlantic. My clients loved the "stealth" house, made a good offer and got into contract almost right away. Just in time to as threats of two more offers came in just hours after our offer was accepted and the seller's friend tried to buy it out from under us once he found out...

Wine Country and Bicycles

Thank you to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat for this photo. Click on it and you can see a nice slideshow of yesterday's Stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California with Captions that identify the various spots in West Sonoma County on the 118 mile route. One of the commentators yesterday stated that the route competed with some of the best in the grand European cycling tours for scenic beauty and complexity. Tomorrow we will be back to our regular real estate programming, even as the Tour continues throughout California, working it's way down to LA. Stay tuned and here how the real estate market is red hot! [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="800" caption="Wine Country and Bicycles Amgen Tour of California Peleton along Occidental Road in Sonoma County Stage 1"][/caption]...

Amgen Tour of California Winding its Way through Santa Rosa and Sonoma's West County Today!

I have been having fun today following the progress of the breakaway group and peleton on Stage 1 of the Amgen Tour of California . A bunch of us from the block were able to walk to the corner and watch the tour go by this morning! Big stuff for a sleepy country neighborhood! You can keep up with their progress on an app which is handy because it shows it on the map in real time. It is a big deal in Santa Rosa this week but the riders are travelling through a big chunk of West County from Windsor, Healdsburg, Sebastopol, Occidental, Monte Rio, Cazadero, down the Sonoma Coast and back over Coleman Valley Road to Occidental and finishing later today in downtown Santa Rosa! There are some pretty steep but short climbs in Cazadero on King Ridge and then heading down to Highway 1.  One of the most spectacularly beautiful roads anywhere in the world is Coleman Valley Road coming up from the coast highway back in to Occidental.  Truly amazing coastal views and then you climb back up in to the redwoods! Besides redwoods, some of the commentators on the app have suggested the riders stop at the numerous Russian River Wineries they are passing, but as far as I know they are saving that for later! I'l have some video later but this picture of some of my neighbors will have to do for now! [caption id="attachment_1525" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Watching the Amgen Tour of California Stage 1 in West Sonoma County May 13, 2012"][/caption]...

Begin with the End in Mind: How to find your Dream Wine Country Home

Over the last year we have seen a broader range of quality wine country properties for sale in Sonoma County, with sellers who are more realistic about pricing. That combination, and ultra low interest rates, have brought out of the area buyers out in force. In 2011 and 2012 alone I have worked with people from the East Bay, San Francisco, France, the UK, Idaho and Texas for a start. There is a lot of competition for the best properties, and as a smart buyer you will want to do your homework to find the best spot and country package for you! That said, it is possible to find a special property within an hour's drive of the Golden Gate Bridge (more or less) that can give you years of pleasure and rejuvenation. So where do you begin in your search for a wine country home?...

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