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Tips for Buying and Owning a Vineyard in Sonoma County

Tips for Buying and Owning a Vineyard in Sonoma County

Buying and maintaining a vineyard isn’t a walk in the park, not even for the most financially savvy wine enthusiast. These tips will get you started on your search for the best Sonoma County vineyards for sale.

  1. Scrutinize the land
  2. Regions are typically divided into American Viticultural Areas (AVA) or Appellations. The difference between one Appellation and another depends on the unique micro climate, soil type, and geographic boundaries of the area.

    The grape varietal you choose should depend largely on the micro climate and soil type of the vineyard you’re buying. This determines the highest and best use of your vineyard.

    Russian River Valley, for instance, has a cool to warm climate and fertile gold ridge soil, making it ideal for high end pinot noir and chardonnay. This delicate combination is the reason why pinot noir sourced from Sonoma County is highly distinguished.

    But overall, Sonoma and Napa counties have a wide range of areas that are ideal for cool climate grape varietals, as well as varietals that do well in the heat.

  3. Choose your lifestyle
  4. Do you plan to live in wine country year round, or make short trips during harvest season? Regardless of the answer, it helps to buy a vineyard in an area you enjoy living in.

    Sonoma County is sought for its peaceful, pastoral environment. Aside from winemaking, the area is known for unforgettable biking tours along scenic country roads. Cities like Healdsburg also offer a range of amenities, including galleries, shops, spas, and restaurants.

    You must also be clear about your reasons for buying a vineyard. Some see winemaking as a serious business while others treat it more as a hobby. Your reasons for buying will help you decide how much you want to invest in a vineyard.

  5. Do a cost benefit analysis
  6. Aside from varietals, the location of the vineyard will also determine your income, costs, values, and expenses. As mentioned previously, the unique micro climate and soil type of Sonoma County yields the highest quality pinot noir, which means you can charge a premium for your wine products.

    Moreover, the Russian River and Sonoma Coast Appellations command not just the highest grape prices, but also the highest value per acre vineyard, making it an excellent place to invest in vineyard estates.

  7. Crunch the numbers
  8. How much are you willing to spend to plant a vineyard? Assuming you’re looking at raw, unplanted land in coveted areas like the Sonoma Coast, Russian River, and Green Valley Appellations, the Vineyard and Winery Sales website estimates the costs at around $30,000 to $85,000 per acre.

  9. Consider alternative approaches to winemaking
  10. Sonoma County’s wineries are at the fore of the biodynamic and organic winemaking, which is done without the use of chemicals. Additionally, the biodynamic approach to winemaking views the vineyard as an ecosystem, and incorporates elements like lunar cycles and astrological influences into farming.

    Renowned biodynamic and organic wineries in Sonoma County include Benziger Family Winery and Amapola Creek Vineyards and Winery.

If you’re ready to invest in a vineyard, let Brad Wilkinson assist you. Call him at 707-799-045 or send an email to Brad(dotted)Wilkinson(at)CBNorcal(dotted)com to discuss your options.