Hall Wines

All photos courtesy of Hall Wines

Do you dream of a second home with a vineyard, a place to unwind with a wine country lifestyle? Kathryn and Craig Hall, who split their time between Dallas and Napa Valley, have penned a memoir of their journey from purchasing a dilapidated Rutherford winery to seeing a Hall-crafted Cabernet Sauvignon receive a perfect score from Wine Advocate’s Robert Parker, arguably the world’s most influential wine critic. Officially debuting Sept. 13, 2016, A Perfect Score: The Art, Soul, and Business of a 21st-Century Winery by Craig and Kathryn Hall (Center Street/$26) will rank 11th on the October 1 New York Times’ Nonfiction Hardcover list.Hall Wine

Here’s a glimpse inside the book and the authors’ wine country home:

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jpg580_calistoga-ranch.jpg extIn California, they have even sold out of the most famous outdoor showers in the world!  The  award-winning Calistoga Ranch in the Napa Valley has sold out of its private residence club offering.

It seems Americans love their vacation homes again. Vacation home sales in the United States increased 10.1 percent in 2012. 553,000 units were sold as compared to 502,000 in 2011, according to fresh data released recently by the National Association of Realtors.

“We had a strong stock market recovery, which helps more people in the prime ages for buying vacation homes,” NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said. “Attractively priced recreational property is also a big draw.”

Attractively priced with creative options. According to the NAR which tracks these things, 11 percent of all home transactions in 2012 were vacation homes.

No one knows this better than Joshua Dempsey, Director of Real Estate at Calistoga Ranch, a unique private residence club in an enchanting wine country setting. Though it took 8 years (thanks to the recession), all 140 interests of this unique private residence club have recently sold out.Calistoga Ranch shower

jpg580_outdoorlivingroom2-1Calistoga Ranch is a most unique and magnificent private resort. The award-winning property is managed by Auberge Resorts and is tucked into a private canyon in the upper Napa Valley on a 157- acre site with abundant streams and a serene lake. Among the many amenities at owners’ disposal are numerous hiking trails that wind through the surrounding hills for miles.

Located just north of St. Helena in the Napa Valley, Calistoga Ranch encompasses 50 guest lodges and 15 owner lodges. The spa is rated among the best in the world by Conde Nast Traveler and other renowned travel publications. The acclaimed restaurant sits beside a bucolic lake providing a perfect perch to soak in the beauty of nature. The property also features an on-site Cabernet vineyard and a mountain wine cave. One of the many features that distinguish Calistoga Ranch is the Vintner Program which provides privileged access to a select group of local winemakers through a series of educational and culinary events designed exclusively for the benefit of owners.
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About the homes: The residences are about 2400 square feet with beautiful kitchens, living rooms, and two bedrooms. The master has an enticing outdoor shower garden. Each room has walls of windows to take in the magnificent natural surroundings. The lodges are connected by a series of decks and are centered around a covered outdoor living area with a comfortable seating and dining area and a large fireplace…..sort of like a campsite, but a very elegant campsite.

Great care was taken to design the residences around existing rock outcroppings and trees. In some instances, ancient oaks and redwoods actually ‘sprout’ through the decks and shower gardens of the lodges. The architect, Scott Lee of S.B. Architects, designed these eco-sensitive residences.

The entire Napa Valley is hot in terms of real estate sales. Josh tells me $4 to $5 million properties are now moving quickly thanks to limited supply and increasing demand, much like what we are seeing in Dallas. But in Napa, of course, price points are much higher. Due to tough restrictions on land use and on subdivision, you cannot purchase and subdivide fewer than forty acres in Napa Valley. If you seek an elevated view property, there is a 160-acre lot minimum on the mountains which cradle the valley floor. Basically, it was decided years ago that Napa would not become a sprawling San Francisco suburb, and zoning was put in place to preserve the agricultural interests (which would be the wine) of Napa.

Hence, the creation of a private residence club which offers lower upfront costs with all the services and amenities of a 5-star resort managed by Auberge.

“Fractional ownership is poised to grow,” says Josh, “with developments that offer all the right ingredients: an unsurpassed location, thoughtful development, attractive amenities, limited supply and fine management.”

It has to be a location and concept so special it is almost unattainable, like most of Napa now. So who are these buyers? Josh says they are diverse, ranging from baby boomers to young families with children. They come from all over the world, enjoying the ease of partial ownership but getting their wine country fix. About half of the owners are from northern California. Others come from Chicago, New York, Texas, and Southern California. There are three Canadian owners and a smattering of Europeans. Many have or have had multiple homes.

” Instead of spending several million dollars on a single destination home, one owner has chosen to purchase fractional homes in Tuscany, the Colorado mountains, and here at Calistoga Ranch, allowing him to maximize his vacation experience without having to tend to the typical chores often related to second home ownership,” says Josh. “That’s called zero maintenance vacation living.”

Calistoga Ranch participates in a reciprocity program with Auberge Resorts that includes four properties: Esperanza in Cabo, Element 52 in Telluride, Palmetto Bluff in South Carolina, and Pronghorn in Bend, Oregon. As far as availability of your shared home when you want it, here again Calistoga has a uniqueness that makes it the perfect product for fractional ownership.

“Our clientele is more diverse,” says Josh. “We are not a beach or ski town with everyone crowding into a spring break schedule.”

Owners have more diverse preferences, which means some may desire spring in the wine country, others a fall harvest, while the Texans may just want to escape the summer heat.

Disappointed you missed the offering? Josh has a resale available now for $399,000. After all, August in Dallas is just around the corner…