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There are few places on earth more beautiful than the California wine country of Napa and Sonoma Counties. From the moody Sonoma Coast to the sunny hills embracing the Napa Valley, the North Bay wine country is a patchwork of vineyards, rolling hills, redwood forests, and fertile valleys.
Real estate in the wine country offers something for everyone. In the far western reaches of Sonoma County, north coast living is at its best. Isolated, and often surrounded by the infamous coastal fog, The Sea Ranch - a Mid-century community noted for its distinctive architecture - sits at the ocean's edge. South of Sea Ranch, Jenner and Bodega Bay are also popular Sonoma Coast communities. Heading inland, real estate is relatively affordable in Guerneville, Monte Rio, and other Russian River resort towns.
The urban center of Sonoma County extends along Highway 101 from Petaluma to Cloverdale, and real estate in this area is varied. Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park are business hubs with typical city and suburban neighborhoods; while Healdsburg offers a mix of Craftsman, Victorian, and custom contemporary homes. In the south end of the county, the town of Sonoma exemplifies the wine country experience with gracious older homes and cottages as well as modern new designs.
The heart of Napa County is the Napa Valley with its wineries, vineyards, and world famous restaurants helping to make each town along the way a destination. Yountville, Calistoga, and St. Helena are quintessential wine country towns, with an assortment of residential real estate ranging from traditional Craftsman bungalows to hip new prefabs. At the southern edge of the county, commuters appreciate the proximity that the cities of Napa and American Canyon have to Marin, the East Bay, San Francisco, and the Central Valley - and the relative affordability of real estate in these two cities.
The vineyards and wineries of the Sonoma and Napa wine country produce some of the finest wines in the world. Where there is good wine, there is good food - and fine dining. Good food, good wine, and a diverse range of landscape and climates create a lifestyle and help to make the Sonoma/Napa wine country one of the most desirable places to live in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Although California Wine Country is one of the world’s most visited destinations for tourists, it’s also a pretty dang nice place to call home too. Situated just north of the world-class city of San Francisco, Wine Country has seen significant growth over the years, going from just 25 Napa Valley wineries in the mid-1970s to well over 400 actively operating wineries today. But along with being able to regularly sample some of the world’s best wines, locals are also presented with awesome outdoor recreational amenities here that you just don’t get in most cities and towns across the country. The stunning natural landscapes all throughout Sonoma and Napa counties are simply breathtaking, and the hiking trails and mountain bike paths that weave their way all throughout the rolling hills and vineyards of California Wine Country certainly make getting outside and staying active a whole lot easier than in most other parts of the country. And if you love a small town lifestyle but still prefer to be relatively close to plenty of big city amenities and attractions, there’s hardly a better place to live that right here in the heart of Wine Country USA.
From sprawling country estates with private vineyards to quaint little cottages in some of Wine Country’s most charming cities and towns, there’s something here for every home buyer out there searching the best of what Northern California has to offer. For the most part, Wine Country is essentially recognized as Sonoma County and Napa County, which each sit immediately north of Marin County and East Bay, and directly west of Sacramento. Commuting into San Francisco from Wine Country of course takes a bit longer from Wine Country thanks to its far north location, but that also means you’ll be just a bit further away from all the hustle-and-bustle that coincides with big city living. Also keep in mind, however, that Wine Country still maintains a fairly bustling atmosphere of its own, so despite enjoying a much broader buffer zone from San Francisco, plenty of annual tourists activity keeps most Wine Country communities pretty lively and active all year long.
The Wine Country real estate market is a little more unique than other parts of the Bay Area in that land and vineyards are just as commonly sought after as homes, condos, or townhouses for sale in the region. Not surprisingly, many Wine Country home buyers tend to want a property that includes lots of open space or acreage, and even if you’re not interested in jumping into the wine making business, it’s still nice to have a little extra space that helps fully captures the stunning scenery that defines this picturesque part of the country.
With the western edge of Wine Country extending all the way to the California coastline, homes and estates with sprawling views of the ocean also occupy a sizable portion of the local housing market. But unlike most cities along the coast, prominent Sonoma County towns like Bodega Bay, Stewarts Point, Jenner, and Timber Cove only have populations between 100 and just over 1,000 people, limiting what you might find available on the open market.