Sonoma County is one of the most beautiful places in this world where the romance of the wine country draws people to live, full or part time, with it’s down to earth county feel, small towns, friendly personality and wealth of rich living. The love of being in a farming community, of wine, and being around energized passionate people is what brought me here. I’ve been helping people realize that same dream ever since. You only live once after all
Doug Swanson

What to Know Before Buying a Wine Country Property in Sonoma County

Many people coming to Sonoma County are looking to live the romance of being in the wine country and having a vineyard or a winery estate property without fully understanding what each really entails or the differences between the two. They often confuse the two, believing they are one and the same and need a better understanding of what buying and owning each type of wine country property is really about.

First, a Vineyard Estate property is very different from a having a winery estate. Having a vineyard is farming. It’s subject to Mother Nature, to farming management companies that help you throughout the year to maintain your vineyard with the goal of harvesting a quality and lucrative crop in fall during the picking season, and to having good long term relationships with local wineries who buy your fruit.

Having a Winery Estate Property is a business first and foremost. It’s about making quality wines with a bit of the mad scientist at heart and then marketing your product and promoting it everywhere you can, branding it over time and building good will. There is no one key to doing this. But a few extremely important elements are in cultivating a great winemaker relationship and support staff, getting your wines in tastings and being awarded strong reviews and high point ratings, making relationships for distribution channels including local restaurants, a tasting room and especially a wine club membership program. It’s product sales and marketing first and foremost. And it’s work!

Where wineries and vineyard owners overlap is with farming. Most wineries purchase a good portion of their fruit from local vineyard owners that they have established long term relationships with. However, wineries do grow their own fruit as well, some more than others. Vineyard Estate owners however do not get into making their own wines as a rule of thumb except maybe as a private hobby in small scale. Having either type of property can be extremely rewarding as a lifestyle move. Both are wholly different from each other and both are full time affairs, in life and in mind.