For years, French wines had a monopoly on the market. That changed in 1976, when two Napa Valley vintages—a Cabernet Sauvignon from Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and a Chardonnay from Chateau Montelena Winery—triumphed during a blind tasting with a panel of France’s top tasters. The Judgment of Paris put California on the map and made Napa Valley a premier destination for wine connoisseurs around the world.
Oenophiles longing to call the region home now have a rare opportunity to own a slice of the fabled terra firma. Residential sales have officially launched for all 20 single-family, full-ownership homes at Four Seasons Resort and Private Residences Napa Valley. Built by Bald Mountain Development, the two- to four-bedroom houses range in size from 2,030 to 3,300 square feet. The homes are scheduled to be completed during the last quarter of 2018, and the resort is slated to open in spring 2019.
Designed by architect John Hill, the tailored agrarian abodes represent a modern, luxurious take on traditional farmhouses. Fireplaces, deep soaking tubs, wood accents, and elegant light fixtures converge to create rustic chic interiors. Expansive glass windows and French doors offer stunning views of the rugged mountains and dew-covered vines, and trellis-covered alfresco terraces overlook the sylvan surroundings. Each open-concept abode is equipped with two sumptuous master bedrooms, walk-in closets, a private wine cellar, and a two-car garage. The nearby 47-mile Vine Trail, a winding pathway that connects a web of wine country communities, is ideal for walks and bike rides. At night, a canopy of stars stretch across the sky, unpolluted by city lights.
Interested homeowners can place their houses in the resort’s short-term rental program. “There are very few homes in Napa County where you can legally do short-term vacation rental,” says Kelly Foster, a principal with Bald Mountain Development. “These 20 homes are the only ones currently in Calistoga that can be rented on a nightly basis. Everything else in the area is available on a long-term lease.” The program is ideal for individuals who want to rent out their vacation homes while they are out of town.
Perhaps the most anticipated amenity is an interactive grape-to-glass program helmed by winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown, a Calistoga native who has received 20 perfect 100-point wine scores from The Wine Advocate. After being grown in the onsite, five-acre vineyard, Cabernet grapes will be transported to the high-end winery for production. Those interested in winemaking will have the unique opportunity to be involved from start to finish.
“Residents will interact with the crush experience so they can get a sense of how wine is actually made, what the process looks like, and what the wines taste like in various stages of development,” says Brown, who will offer guidance and direction to budding vintners. “We want to draw people into the process as it unfolds, and allow them to be as involved as they want to be.” The winery’s private tasting room, which features 20 individual temperature-controlled wine storage units and a private tasting area, will be available exclusively to homeowners. The high-end wine program is the first of its kind at a Four Seasons.
Owners will appreciate the resort’s five-star amenities, which include an 85-room hotel, a 6,011-square-foot spa, a restaurant that serves seasonal produce, a bar that offers craft cocktails (and, of course, an extensive wine list), and a farm-fresh general store that touts fresh-baked bread, cured meats, salads, cappuccinos, and more. Although inhabitants will need to pay for spa treatments, food, and beverages, they can access the pool, fitness center, and boardroom for free.
The resort is located within the city limits of Calistoga, a historic town with a population of just over 5,000. Embodying the charm and innocence of bygone days, the community is famous for its mineral hot springs and neighbors that are actually, well, neighborly. “There’s a big sense of community. Doors are never locked. There’s a Fourth of July parade that is absolutely Norman Rockwell-esque, and a lighted tractor parade for Christmas. It’s like Mayberry,” Brown says. Prices for the homes start at $3.5 million, offering interested parties a taste of wine country living year-round. (Inquiries: Coldwell Banker in St. Helena. Josh Dempsey; 707.637.6123.) (napaluxuryliving.com)