NAPA, Calif. (
) -- If you love to savor a glass of syrah or riesling during harvest time and fantasize about fleeing city life, here's a different wine pairing to consider.
Two vineyard estates are fermenting on the markets in California's Napa Valley and New York's Long Island and, depending on your taste, could uncork a burgeoning sauvignon blanc hobby or a ready-made business. At the very least, their grapes will funnel a bit of your money away from the wine barons at
The story behind the
properties on Long Island's North Fork is bittersweet. The estate, founded by Bob Palmer in 1983, includes a 61-acre, $6.9 million winery and a 62-acre, $3.9 million vineyard. The operation produced 16,000 cases of award-winning pinot blanc, chardonnay, riesling, sauvignon blanc and cabernet franc a year.
The opulent estate in the Napa Valley comes with a vineyard.
After Palmer died in January at age 74, his daughter sought to sell the property to someone who would care as much about winemaking as he did.
"The ultimate goal will be to have a smooth transaction where the buyer understands the nature of owning and running a winery," says Suzanne Hahn of
Brown Harris Stevens
, the estate's listing agent. "It was a hard decision for Bob Palmer's daughter to put the property on the market, but she said it just isn't the same without her father."
If you're thinking the property would make a swell condo development, don't waste your time. The sellers are adamant about maintaining the winery's legacy and have sold the rights to residential development to surrounding Suffolk County, restricting the land to agricultural use.
As consolation, the buyer would get the winery, tasting house, production facilities, equipment and negotiating rights to the Palmer Vineyards name, inventory and expertise of winemaker Miguel Martin. The owner would also gain the Ruben Wells Farmhouse, which was built in 1790 and restored by Palmer's wife, Lorraine.
"The wonderful thing about the North Fork is that we have been so aggressively pro-preservation for the past 20 years," Hahn says. "We have thousands of acres with the development rights sold, which prevented overbuilding, maintained the pastoral and agricultural vistas and encouraged the vineyard and winery industries to flourish."
Across the country on Napa Valley's Oakville Ridge, a 60-acre, $10 million estate seeks an owner who's less vintner than vacationing oenophile. Owned by film producer Richard B. Lewis (
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
), the property was dubbed "The Outer Limits" for the Lewis-produced sci-fi series that paid for it and its secluded location overlooking the Far Niente and Opus One wineries and Harlan Estate.
The property's 3.7-acre "gentleman's vineyard" pales in comparison to the larger plots the property overlooks, but yields 10 tons of grapes for cabernet sauvignon, merlot and chardonnay. While it may not provide the foundation for a great wine empire, it gives the buyer something to sip while sitting in the outdoor stone spa or in front of one of the fireplaces in the 5,000-square-foot main residence. There's also a kitchen outside, a 3,380-square-foot basement for leftovers and a 1,200-square-foot guest house with its own private spa.
This vino vacation home seems like it came out of old Hollywood, but it has a sordid past. At one time, an old stone building on the property was known for its less-than-proper entertaining.
"During Prohibition, it was turned into a bordello," says Latife Hayson, the property's listing agent for
Heritage Sotheby's International
. "After he bought the property, the owner used the stone from the building in his outdoor stone fireplace."
-- Reported by Jason Notte in Boston.
Follow TheStreet.com on
and become a fan on
Jason Notte is a reporter for TheStreet.com. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Esquire.com, Time Out New York, The Boston Herald, The Boston Phoenix, Metro newspaper and the Colorado Springs Independent.