California, USA

California, USACoastal Cachet

  • Published Monday, December 10, 2012
  • Updated on Monday, December 10, 2012

During the California Gold Rush, throngs arrived hoping to change their fortunes. Today, California attracts the fortunate ready to change their perspective.

Throughout California and especially along the Pacific coast where most of the population resides, trophy properties like vineyards, equestrian farms, ranches and haciendas, are rewards for those with a work-hard, play-hard mindset.

In San Diego County, the landmarked community of Rancho Santa Fe ranks among the most affluent in the United States. Two acre-plus zoning is the norm. Rancho Santa Fe is popular with the horse set. In fact, it hosted equestrian events at the 1984 Olympics. In this region noted for miles of horse trails, polo and riding clubs, equestrian homes are in high demand.

Further north along the coast, within commuting distance of downtown Los Angeles, ranches and equestrian farms border state park lands in and around cities like Simi Valley and Calabasas. In exclusive Calabasas, gateway to the Santa Monica Mountains, median home prices are just shy of $1 million.

Mountains, ocean, eucalyptus trees and mustard seed flower fields mark California’s never-boring landscape. Up the Pacific coast is Santa Barbara, where its Spanish heritage is reflected in its architecture and the Santa Ynez Mountains lie in backdrop. The combination of its luxury setting and Mediterranean climate makes it a popular second-home market, especially for Los Angelenos looking for open spaces. Santa Barbara County is home to more than 100 wineries, most family-owned. Wineries are primarily concentrated in the Santa Maria and Santa Ynez valleys, the latter also known for its horse breeding ranches

San Luis Obispo is part of the same Central Coast American Viticultural Area as Santa Barbara County. Together they account for 44,000 acres of wine grapes or 7.4 percent of California’s wine grape crush.

Of course, northern California is known as the wine country, ranking as one of the top wine-producing regions in the world. Credit an “agri”-preneurial environment that’s especially supportive of artisan producers. In Napa Valley, a controlled growth approach shuns urban sprawl and protected thousands of acres from development. Napa feels rural, yet sophisticated. Residential parcels in Napa towns like St. Helena feature wildlife trails and redwood groves, along with the vines. For those with serious viticulture aspirations, properties with generous plantable acreage and turnkey equipment are immediate revenue generators. In adjoining Sonoma County, premium vineyard estates, in some cases with century-old vines, are situated just on the edge of trendy towns like Healdsburg. Some have called this the American Tuscany.  And, yet, the region, like others along California’s coast, stands incomparable on it own.

View all Luxury Farm, Ranch and Wineries in California

from Sotheby's International Realty

Content Producer Iyna Bort Caruso