Providing a local presence, and a platform for growth, in the agricultural investment space.
Cru Land Company is a boutique Real Estate brokerage and advisory firm whose primary focus is investment-grade agricultural land. We provide landowners, investors, wine producers and agricultural processors a local presence and a platform for growth within the rapidly accelerating Agricultural Investment space.
Initially rooted in the North Coast with a focus on vineyard land, Cru represents a progression into new markets and new crops. Our expansion into the Central Coast and Sacramento Valley regions provides us the opportunity to support our clients that are already invested locally and are seeking additional investment exposure in these markets. At the same time, it allows us to cultivate new relationships with growers, landowners, and operators to assist them in achieving their individual goals by applying the knowledge and expertise we’ve developed over more than a decade in the industry.
Welcome to 5335 Burnside Road, a legacy ranch perched high in the sky in the Sebastopol hills. This ranch is truly a finite offering, as plots of land with such scale and versatility rarely come along in Wine Country. The ranch includes 211+/- acres of rolling grassland, studded with oaks, and incredible 270' panoramic views taking in the Geysers to the north and Marin County in the south. All this just an hour and a half drive from San Francisco.
The Agricultural (LEA) Zoning allows for diversity on the site whether it be a vineyard, boutique winery with CUP, organic farm, cattle ranch or wine country estate. 60-acre minimum density may allow for a 3-way split providing developers an especially unique opportunity.
THE VINEYARD POTENTIAL
The ultra-premium wine-producer or seasoned wine industry investor will appreciate the opportunity this ranch affords to develop a truly world-class estate vineyard in the hills of West Sonoma County. With an estimated +/- 115 plantable acres the ranch offers a scale rarely seen on such a compelling site. The size, along with the gentle rolling topography, provides the ability to farm efficiently from 450 - 735' in elevation.
RUSSIAN RIVER GRAPE FARM
The Russian River Grape Farm offers a unique opportunity for a grower or wine-producer to acquire over 18 acres of vineyard within the heart of the Russian River Valley AVA without the burden of an estate or residential units. A desirable varietal mix, productive history, and plentiful water make this vineyard an attractive asset.
The farm also provides the opportunity to develop a wine country getaway within the renowned Russian River Valley with views of Mt St Helena and excellent accessibility to Highway 101.
YOLO COUNTY WINERY
The Yolo Winery facility is located in the heart of the Dunnigan Hills approximately 8 miles north of Esparto, CA. The winery is easily accessible from highway 505 to the South or highway 5 to the North providing mid-to-large sized wineries the opportunity for a centralized point of storage, whether case goods or bulk wine, with access to major transportation routes.The winery has recently installed a new refrigeration and fire suppression systems and is now poised to meet the demands of a wide variety of wineries from 1,000 to 15,000 tons.
In addition to storage, a winery could reduce custom processing expenses by increasing their internal processing capability with only modest investments in the facility. Additionally, fruit is available for purchase from the 2,300 acres of vineyard onsite, further integrating the opportunity.
Vineyards For Sale in California
It comes as no surprise that California is home to the most vineyards for sale out of anywhere in the country. Known for its national parks, whitewater, and fly-fishing streams, California truly has it all. If you’re looking to fulfill your dream of owning a vineyard, California is the ultimate destination. Let Cru Land Company guide you through the process of deciding on the best location for your vineyard and helping you turn your vision into a reality.
Buying a Vineyard in California
To date, over 100,000 acres of vineyards are currently for sale in California. Choosing the right location for your vineyard means determining your primary reason for purchasing one. Are you buying for the love of making wine? Or for the love of the relaxing vineyard way of life? Or are you looking to make the investment of a lifetime? Understanding what you hope to achieve with your vineyard is the first step to success.
The most important thing to remember when buying a vineyard in California is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Each buyer will have different needs, resources, and goals, and that’s where our team at Cru Land Company can help. We’ll take all of your preferences into consideration and find options that are best suited to you. Whether you’re looking for a place to getaway, to focus on the craft of winemaking, or to invest for the future, we know how to find you the vineyard of your dreams.
Choosing a California Wine Region
One of the reasons that so many people love to live and visit California is because of the various types of climates and geography that span the state. For these same reasons, California is home to numerous distinct wine regions. Each region produces grapes and wines that beautifully display the unique trails of its soil and climate. Some regions may be a better fit for you than others based on your own goals, interests, costs, and taste.
As you begin to acquaint yourself with different wines from regions across California, you are likely to become familiar with seeing AVA on the labels of wine bottles. AVA refers to the American Viticultural Area, which is a region for wine grape-growing that is classified by its geographical features, distinguishing it from other regions. The state of California is home to over one hundred different AVAs, and as you become more knowledgeable about the characteristics of each, you can slowly begin to narrow down the regions in which you are interested in establishing your vineyard.
WHAT OUR CLIENTS ARE SAYING
"David Carciere understands every aspect of North Coast vineyard and winery real estate. He has local knowledge and connections and a Masters in Land Economics and Real Estate. I’ve completed several vineyard transactions with David and he knows how to get deals done. David is my go to guy for vineyard purchases and sales."
ERIC FLANAGAN / WINERY OWNER, MANAGING PRINCIPAL / RUSSIAN RIVER PARTNERS INVESTMENT FUND
How Much Does a Vineyard Cost in California?
There are numerous factors that contribute to the price of a vineyard in California. Generally, vineyard prices run between $25,000 and $500,000 per acre, with the average price hovering between $100,000 and $150,000 per acre. You can expect to pay higher prices for vineyards that are already home to houses or ranches and less for those without. For example, a property in the highly sought after Napa region might cost up to $500,000 per acre.
The value of the crop is typically the primary driver when it comes to land prices. Grapes range in value from $500 per ton up to $8,000 per ton for Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. In addition to crop value, vineyard pricing is also dramatically impacted by overall real estate fundamentals, which includes the general desirability of the area. Consider that areas like Napa, Sonoma, and Santa Barbara are coveted places to live as well as areas that produce unparalleled grapes and wine.
In recent years, one of the most crucial factors for vineyard owners or prospective buyers in California is water. Agriculture cannot exist or thrive without access to water, and water rights and access will have a major impact on the price of a vineyard. While some vineyards operate on their own private wells, others may have to deal with a newer, more restrictive system.
Soils require as much consideration as water supply, as there is a great degree of variation in their ability to retain water. Wine grapes thrive in the presence of well-drained soils, and while grapes are often tolerant of dry periods, the ability of soil to retain water can impact the cost of water over time. Soil content requires additional consideration in regions with particularly dry vineyards. Additionally, the overall health and nutrient value of the soil can play a vital role in determining the price of the vineyard. Not only will soil in good health provide a better yield, but it will also help cut down on the cost of water.
CASE STUDY 1
INSTITUTIONAL SCALE VINEYARD, RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY
In summer of 2020 we sourced 200 acres of prime Russian River vineyard for a long-time institutional investment manager client. The bulk-wine industry has been extraordinarily challenged since 2018 due to, among other factors, a significant excess of both wine and fruit in the market. The imbalance has slowed the land and vineyard market nearly to a halt. Despite the challenges in the market, we’ve had capital waiting for quality opportunities to arise, and this opportunity absolutely fit the bill as a high-quality, investment grade vineyard asset.
Going forward the buyer plans a phased redevelopment of the vineyard. In the meantime, they’ve secured short-term contracts on the vineyard blocks that will remain in place. When all is said and done, they’ll have a modern and efficient, 200-acre premium Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyard located within the heart of the Russian River Valley.
CASE STUDY 2
HALL ROAD DAIRY, RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY
In the spring of 2018, we were engaged to sell a 120-acre former dairy located within the heart of the Russian River Valley AVA. The ranch included a significant amount of quality plantable ground, but also potential challenges given its location and proximity to the Laguna de Santa Rosa.
Prior to taking the offering public, our pre-marketing outreach to the wine-industry generated significant interest. Less than a week into the public marketing period, we were in escrow with a wine-industry veteran who, as it turned out, had been the first buyer to tour the ranch. The ranch is now planted to nearly 100 acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with a scale and layout that should make it extremely productive and efficient to farm.
CASE STUDY 3
RUSSIAN RIVER PARTNERS, BRANDT RANCH, KELSEY BENCH
In 2016 long-time client Eric Flanagan, manager of Russian River Partners, was looking to deploy capital with the goal of obtaining “plus” farming returns. As land prices have risen, particularly in Napa and Sonoma Counties, farming returns, from a grower perspective, have become more difficult to achieve. With this in mind, we sought out the Brandt Ranch on the Kelsey Bench in Lake County.
The site included 110 acres under-vine, a significant portion of which was virused, under-performing, and bought at a discount. After closing, the virused blocks were redeveloped. Once the vineyard is fully online ~2021, the returns should be excellent as Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon continues to see increasing demand and pricing, and the gentle slopes and significant scale make the ranch incredibly efficient to farm.
CASE STUDY 4
DONNELLY CREEK VINEYARD, ANDERSON VALLEY
In 2015 we privately marketed the Donnelly Creek Vineyard, in Anderson Valley. The vineyard totaled 42 acres and included a mix of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris. We brought the opportunity to UBS Farmland Investors, who recognized the growing reputation of Anderson Valley as an ultra-premium Pinot Noir and Chardonnay region, and they acquired the vineyard.
At the time of purchase, the vineyard was leased out and a redevelopment plan was put in place with the goal of transforming the vineyard into one that was modern and ultra-premium. Hall Wines of Napa is currently executing that plan for their WALT label and stewarding the vineyard into its new phase.
Is Buying a Vineyard a Good Investment?
With careful consideration and planning, buying a vineyard is an excellent long-term investment. Owning a vineyard requires a substantial investment up-front as well as a hearty budget dedicated to ongoing operations. However, with solid management a vineyard will see positive annual crop returns in addition to appreciation over time. Click here for important tips to consider before buying a vineyard in California.
Of course, making sure that your vineyard’s management plan is effective is the key to your vineyard’s success. Your management strategy should align with the goals for your vineyard, meaning that if you intend to make wine, make sure you have an efficient production strategy and marketing campaign in place.
Owning a vineyard is undeniably an incredible way to diversify your investment portfolio. However, it’s so much more than that, too. For wine lovers, retirees, and families alike, owning a vineyard provides a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and relax while enjoying life on the farm, surrounded by gorgeous, lush views and sprawling mountains. If you’re ready to make the investment of a lifetime, let Cru Land Company be your guide. We can’t wait to help you make your vineyard dreams come true.