Drink The View


Amador_county_vines This week, the New York Times covered a new phenomenon in the delightfully artificial world of American living: planned communities centered around vineyards.

As far as suburban fantasies go, this is a step up.  Better for the environment than the whole golf community phenomenon.  And while I’d never be caught dead in any kind of development, this kind…well, I could see it.  I have big plans myself for a rocky field at my country place some day when I’ve got a bit of leisure.  Gewurztraminer grapes as far as the eye can see. 


  1. And pretty soon they start complaining about the smell of manure and the spraying of sulfur and copper on the crops and the early-morning tractor noise. I dunno, a farm is a farm, and it would take a rare breed of neighbor (like you) to live alongside one. I’d rather see that land used for a diverse planting of natives & insect-friendly plants to break up the monoculture.

  2. In Livermore Calif. wine country, vineyard parcels have been sold to developers resulting in housing surrounding vineyards. It’s sad to the beauty of this working landscape diminished by overpriced housing, but for the children raised in this setting, I guess you could say it’s nature near (hopefully the vineyards are organic).

  3. I raise my glass of chardonnay and celebrate this is my retirement – but the damn real estate is still too expensive in CA!! Seriously – there is an undescribable beauty/lure about Sonoma County that I have never been able to express in words to people – but all I can come up with is I am seduced – and I want to be there full time when I do not have to work any more!

    And damnit 20 cases a year just won’t do! Keep the cash payment -more wine!

    Thanks for the great post as usual!

  4. I’ve noticed the banner ads for Vineyard Estates on sfgate.com for a couple months now. If land is going to be bough in great swathes by developers, at least some of it is being kept in agricultural production instead of having another environmentally unsustainable golf course put in. Livermore has a history of viticulture and the development pressures on the area have increased exponentially in the last 20 years. This sort of compromise seems better than some things that could happen. I wonder how they’d react if an owner started putting in companion plants like some of the more forward-thinking wineries in Sonoma and Napa are doing?

    I wonder if there’s any future in developing like this but with a perennial food forest instead of a monoculture vineyard? Could a developer really make a go of selling green homes with a permaculture farm attached?

  5. Yes, Michele, you’re a farmer. Otherwise I would tell some heartbreaking stories of would-be vintners I have known.

    NOT easy. Hell, my dad nearly blew up the house trying to make mead.

  6. There’s one of these communities right next to door to me; even named for the grape type that’s being grown adjacent.

    The good thing, I think, is that now it’s unlikely that the community will push to develop that land.

    I notice they are somewhat covert about spraying since the McMansions went up.

  7. Don’t understand why anyone would wamt to live or for that matter grow graps. The little I tried the more work it became. I would rather buy a bottle at the local store without the problems with growing my own. I live on a nice golf course and enjoy it. By the way sombody else takes care of the grass, trees, lakes and everything else. I just enjoy the view and the GAME.

  8. Comical. This is going to be my topic of choice this evening with friends. Lets see what other “contrivances” we can come up with—all while drinking in someone’s garden of course!

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