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What you should know if you’re selling your California wine estate

“Lifestyle wine estates” are popular here in California’s Wine Country as well as further north into the Pacific Northwest. These wine estates, sometimes called “lifestyle vineyards,” typically include a home and a small vineyard.

Most people who own these properties aren’t in the wine business to make a lot of money or see their wine sold in stores. As one real estate broker puts it, “It’s a bucket list item for some people.”

Some wine estates have a greater focus on wine production than others

Even within the lifestyle wine estate market, there are differences in how seriously owners take their wine production. Some produce enough to share with friends or donate to charitable causes. The vineyard is simply “an added feature to the residential property,” as another broker put it.

Other owners make a business out of their vineyards. These estates are typically more expensive because they include production facilities and the value of the wine label.

Determining the asking price if you’re selling

Setting the right asking price is crucial. This price should be based on the value of the home, the vineyard and any buildings and equipment used for wine production, as well as the success of your wine label if you have one.

The health, age and variety of your vines and the health and type of soil they grow in are also key to the estate’s value. That’s particularly true if the vineyard is intended to be a money-making operation.

Many wine estate owners are selling a business as well as a home

Selling a wine estate also requires providing extensive information about the business aspect, including any contracts you have with other businesses. Due diligence is essential for any buyer, but especially for one who’s seeking financing for their purchase. There are needs to be an agreement on whether the seller or buyer is entitled to the upcoming harvest or how it will be split.

Finalizing the deal once you’ve found a buyer can be a longer, more complicated process than you may have anticipated. Selling a wine estate requires some knowledge of residential, agricultural and commercial real estate. It’s crucial to have experienced real estate, legal and financial guidance.