At this Paso Robles estate, you can sip your favorite vintages and produce them too.
A sprawling, Tuscan-style California estate with 130 acres of grapevines has come onto the market for the first time since 2005. The sellers of the $22 million Villa San-Juliette, as it’s referred to, are none other than Ken Warwick and Nigel Lythgoe, the former producers of American Idol. Together, the duo transformed this one-of-a-kind parcel of land into a picturesque vineyard that’s outfitted with two three-bedroom villas and an expansive tasting room.
Turns out, the idea of opening a winery was alluring to more than just Warwick and Lythgoe. Fellow Idol alums and aspiring vintners Simon Cowell, Ryan Seacrest and Randy Jackson also considered getting in on the project, but ultimately dropped out. Their loss was the producer’s gain when Warwick and Lythgoe purchased a roughly 160-acre plot for approximately $5 million.
It took half a decade to turn Villa San-Juliette into the main attraction it is today—they had to first demolish the existing house to make room for a tasting room, winery and two residential structures. And if the name is any indication of their vision, the moniker is an ode to Shakespeare’s most tragic love story that took place in Verona, Italy.
“With our extended experience of aesthetics and set design from our 50 years in the television business, we were very adamant about the style of the buildings and the atmosphere we wanted to create…We didn’t want the winery to look like a film set. It needed to be a destination,” says Warwick.
One-part wine-making operation and one-part vacation property, Villa San-Juliette has two, 4,000-square-foot villas that can be used as private residences. Each has access to outdoor terraces and a shared swimming pool. Connecting the homes at the center of the estate is a tasting room where you can drink up the views. Warwick and Lythgoe decided to open the winery and tasting room to the public, which can double as a venue for weddings or retreats.
If you’re wondering how the wine stacks up, there are no sour grapes here. In fact, Villa San-Juliette is beloved for its vino and grows 12 varietals, with the capacity to produce up to 30,000 cases a year. Its Bordeaux and Rhône styles have scored as high as 92 and 93 points. “Villa San-Juliette truly is the crown jewel of the Central Coast. It has a wonderful reputation in the Paso area,” says Brianna Deutsch of Rodeo Realty Beverly Hills, who holds the listing with Paul Margolis.
“Our experience in entertainment fueled the passion for Villa San-Juliette,” Lythgoe says. “To be able to drink your own wine while overlooking your vines…is it not the dream of everybody?”
It’s definitely ours.
Click here to see all the photos of Villa San-Juliette.