11080 Franz Valley Road
This stellar 40-acre vineyard ranch in Knights Valley is on the market for the first time. Encompassing a stylish two-level 6,615-square-foot residence, conscientiously tended acres of Cabernet Sauvignon vines along the banks of Bidwell Creek, and coveted water rights that include ponds for irrigation, it represents a rare opportunity for a connoisseur who dreams of owning a luxurious wine country getaway and a vineyard producing a prestigious, highly desirable estate-grown wine.
No expense was spared, no detail overlooked in the creation of the refined home that is the estate’s centerpiece. Ideally sited at the end of a gated drive that winds through the acreage, it is embraced by mature trees, lush green lawn, colorful landscaping, and the painstakingly tended vineyard rows. Featuring three restful bedrooms, four chic baths, three fireplaces, a finished four-car garage, and views of the area’s famed golden hills, it has been lovingly and meticulously maintained and is suffused with serenity and understated elegance. Every space, element, and detail was carefully, deliberately chosen, with classical touches such as artisanal plaster walls, handsome stonework, and solid-bronze fixtures bringing to mind vineyards of the European countryside. The timeless pitched roof, a subdued neutral palette, and plentiful windows and skylights contribute to an overall sense of sophisticated modern ease, and a generous use of natural materials and a prevalence of views emphasize a harmony with the land and a love and respect for the natural surroundings. A collection of covered and open-air terrace spaces runs along one side of the home, allowing for an easy indoor-outdoor flow and encouraging enjoyment of the fresh air and the inspiring wine country setting day or night and in nearly every season of the year.
The heart of the home is a living room with a dramatic beamed-and-trussed ceiling, clerestory windows, a rugged stone fireplace, thoughtfully positioned sconce lighting, and a wall of glass revealing a verdant view of vineyards and trees. Steps away is a clean, crisp skylit kitchen with a stainless-steel hood and Viking range, warm wood cabinetry, and an island that offers breakfast bar seating for three. The media room or den has a wall-mounted television, built-in speakers, and door to the sunny terrace. The office encourages contemplation while offering a view for occasional moments of daydreaming. The voluminous master suite is an idyllic oasis with handsome walnut floors, a striking beamed ceiling, windows admitting lovely natural light, its own stone fireplace, and double glass doors to the terrace. Luxurious but not ostentatious, the en suite master bath offers dual vanities, a discreet water closet, wall-mounted televisions, a relaxing soaking tub, and a step-in shower. The serene guest bedrooms follow suit stylistically, each a tasteful, tranquil retreat in its own right and each accompanied by an elegant bath. An elevator was thoughtfully added to connect the home’s levels with ease.
Fittingly, the home also features an impressive wine cellar spacious enough to house an extensive collection and also accommodate large groups for tastings; a sink, counter and cabinet space, and storage for glassware are among its conveniences. Adding to the sense of a true self-sufficient estate is a home gym with a mirrored wall, a refrigerator, and a bar sink. Designed with wine country’s enviable climate in mind, the terrace has been equipped with a superior outdoor kitchen and dining area with a stainless-steel grill, a sink, and a stone fireplace that contributes warmth and ambience.
In winemaking and in sports, a perfect season is the goal. With both endeavors in mind, original owners Norma Hunt and the late Lamar Hunt—renowned businessman, sports pioneer, and owner of the Kansas City Chiefs—purchased this property in 2000. Throughout its history, Knights Valley has remained an agricultural area, and the Hunts set out with the aim of creating a vineyard here, in the tradition of Europe’s finest vintners. In the ensuing years, the Hunts enlisted the skills of Bordeaux-native winemaker Philippe Melka—who holds a master’s degree in agronomy and enology and is one of the world’s top wine consultants—and Jim Barbour, one of the most respected viticulturists in the area, who has planted and managed some of Napa Valley’s most coveted vineyards. Employing a rare combination of dedication, hard work, and artistry, together they restored the property’s riparian border, reinvigorated the agricultural soil, and established Bidwell Creek Estate and Vineyard in 2002.
The property’s outstanding ultra-premium grapes are sustainably cultivated and hand-farmed to exacting standards. Water ponds, filled by reclaimed and recycled subsurface drainage water, supplement well water for irrigation, and two frost systems are in place. In a location that boasts the warmest climate in the country—reminiscent of Italy’s—and now desirable gravelly, mineral-rich soils, the estate produces the prized Perfect Season Cabernet Sauvignon, a noteworthy wine of great complexity and character that has received a 96 point rating from Robert Parker and Wine Advocate. The wine perfectly expresses the nature of this uncommonly beautiful site and its unique terroir.
Located in far northern Napa County, Calistoga has a distinctly relaxed feel. More than 125 years after its founding, the community still retains its small-town charm.
Calistoga is perhaps best-known for its many spas, thermal springs, and mud baths that line state Route 29, which runs through the heart of the small city. Calistoga knows it has something special and aims to keep it that way.
The small city’s main street offers an eclectic mix of shopping, wine-tasting rooms, and restaurants. There isn't a fast-food joint in town, so the locals head to Busters Southern BBQ for barbecue or Mary’s Home Plate Cafe for a burger. At the top of the food chain is Solbar, a Michelin-starred eatery that emphasizes local ingredients. Citizens are dedicated supporters of Calistoga’s schools and socialize at the community pool in the city’s center.
For a lighter-than-air experience, Calistoga Balloons will float you over the sights of: Palisade Cliffs; Mount Saint Helena; Chateau Montelena; Old Faithful Geyser, which erupts every 40 minutes; and the Petrified Forest. For those who want to explore the area on foot, Robert Louis Stevenson State Park, located five miles north of Calistoga, offers a commanding view of the valley.
Homes in Calistoga are eclectic, ranging from smaller, older houses near the city center, to showplace countryside homes situated on several acres with mountain and vineyard views.