When you conjure up an image of a property in California’s wine country, it’s usually a sprawling estate, with sun-soaked terraces to enjoy glasses of vino while overlooking the vines. Either inspired by Tuscany, a French chateau. or perhaps the Mediterranean, these sumptuous structures are usually designed to evoke the vineyards of France or Italy.
However, a two-story, Quonset-style barn in the Sonoma County, CA, city of Healdsburg takes an entirely different approach. This artsy, offbeat property’s $959,000 asking price is also a refreshing departure from the city’s median list price of $1,450,000.
“The seller is a true character,” says the listing agent, Eric Ziedrich of Healdsburg Sotheby’s International, of the owner of the 1,880-square-foot home with one bedroom and one bathroom. “You see a lot of his personality in the building.”
After scooping up the 80-acre parcel in 1987, the seller later built a prefab steel barn in 2004 “as a living studio and shop [on the first floor] with a mezzanine on top (where the bedroom is),” Ziedrich says.
The wide-open living room coaxes in natural light and frames lovely views of the Mayacamas Mountain Range. But prepping a feast to pair with a nice Cab is pretty much out of the question.
“There is a rudimentary kitchen, a sink, and a propane cooking stove,” says Ziedrich. “It’s not quite a chef’s dream-facility.”
A building pad up the hill is partially under construction and was halted due to some wildfire damage. Although it was scorched, it didn’t fare as badly as neighboring properties.
And for a buyer with big ideas, there’s a definite opportunity to build more structures on the property.
“It could be an estate executive home,” says Ziedrich.
Alternatively, it could serve as a weekend getaway for a Bay Area local. The drive is a little under two hours from the Golden Gate Bridge.
Despite the home’s cool factor, Ziedrich realizes that it will take a unique buyer to manage the land.
He thinks a buyer will be someone who is “definitely a creative individual, one with a vision. This is a property not for the faint of heart, though,” he says, noting the “relatively steep terrain.”
He adds, “This is a property for an adventurous person … or even for an urban dweller who wants to put on boots on the weekend, but not to sip wine or gin and tonics on the weekend. It’s not there yet.”
But it’s all about location: a remote setting in wine country, where development continues at a fast pace, and where scoring 80 acres for under $1 million is nearly unheard of.
“It’s roughly a half-hour outside Healdsburg,” says Ziedrich of the artsy tourist destination.
He also points out that it’s 6 miles from West Dry Creek Road, the home of many wineries with tasting rooms.
“Big Ridge Road speaks for itself,” he adds. “It’s a meandering, one-lane road. But it’s a beautiful drive to get there.”
Sadly, no wine grapes are currently planted on the property, but there’s a garden. And with lots of land, who’s to say a vineyard couldn’t be next?