How to Qualify for Williamson Act Tax Benefits

williamson act

What is the Williamson Act? The California Land Conservation Act of 1965 is commonly referred to as the Williamson Act. The Act enables Napa and Sonoma Counties to enter into contracts with private landowners for the purpose of restricting specific parcels to agricultural use. The primary intent of the program is to preserve agricultural land by providing tax benefits to landowners and therefore preventing premature and unnecessary development. Napa and Sonoma Counties vary in the specifics. Click here for Sonoma County Williamson Act FAQs. Napa County Rules and Regulations: Summary of Properties that Qualify To qualify for a … [Read more...]

Napa Valley homeowners “give back” this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving sign - Latife Hayson

We all know that Thanksgiving Day is a celebration of gratitude and thanks. What better way to celebrate than to “give back” back to your community? Napa Valley homeowners can choose to give to some amazing local non-profits, or help out by donating to a number of national charities. Here are some of my favorites: The Napa Valley Coalition of Nonprofit Agencies This Coalition is dedicated to several local non-profit organizations that bring health and human services together for the purpose of mutual support. Jameson Rescue Ranch This important non-profit answers the call to help animals in our community through its annual holiday … [Read more...]

HALL RANCH IN ALEXANDER VALLEY: Now Accepting Reservations

Hall Ranch, Latief Hayson

Consider this rare opportunity to own a significant Sonoma County legacy ranch and preserve: Hall Ranch in the Alexander Valley, only minutes from Healdsburg. It’s situated on approximately 421 acres and includes a nearly 83 acres of organically certified vineyards. Located about 75 miles north of San Francisco along Highway 101, Hall Ranch offers breathtaking views of gentle rolling hills where native oaks grow among natural grasses and alongside meticulously groomed vineyards. Situated in the Eastern foothills of Sonoma County, Hall Ranch is truly a one-of-a-kind property. It rises from the valley floor to an elevation of approximately … [Read more...]

The holidays: Perhaps a wonderful time of the year to sell your Napa Valley home

Holidays in Napa by Latife Hayson

Believe it or not, the holidays might be a wonderful time of the year to sell your Napa Valley home provided you romance your buyers.  While the thought of selling your property during the winter months may dampen your holiday spirit, the season does have its advantages:  Most sellers in the wine country take their properties off the market in Fall so inventory is low, there's less competition and there are still second home buyers in the market that didn't find what they were looking for in spring and summer.  Once you've committed to differentiating yourself and rising to the challenge, consider these suggestions: 1)   Stage your home … [Read more...]

The Poetry Inn: Napa Valley’s Ultimate Sanctuary

Poetry Inn

Poetically perched on a hillside in the Stags Leap District, the uber high-class Poetry Inn offers visitors Napa Valley’s ultimate sanctuary, an extraordinary place to get away from it all. Featuring what I believe are the most incredible views of the entire valley, this exclusive oasis invites guests to live the Napa Lifestyle. Enjoy an open air massage, sip a Cabernet on a private terrace, indulge in a gourmet breakfast or just relax by the pool. Warm and modern guest rooms, as large as 1450 square-feet, are meticulously decorated with soothing neutral palates, fine Italian linens, a king sized bed, dark woods, clean lines, deluxe … [Read more...]

Q3 2014 Stats Are In – Another Strong Quarter

q3 2014 market update

Jeffrey Gibson, Managing Broker of Wine Country and San Francisco brokerages invites you to review Sotheby’s International Realty’s quarterly residential Wine Country Real Estate Market Update. In the third quarter of 2014 (Q3 2014), the Wine Country Real Estate market remained strong according to the Bay Area Real Estate Information Service (BAREIS). When comparing the third quarter year-over-year in 2013 and 2014, the average sales price for a single family home increased in most areas throughout the Wine Country, especially in St. Helena where it climbed 33% and in Sonoma Valley where it rose 11%. Despite a severe earthquake in the Napa … [Read more...]

Redefine success with TEDxNapaValley


The theme for next year’s TEDxNapaValley conference set for April 11 and 12 at the Napa Valley Performing Arts Center at Lincoln Theater in Yountville has been announced. It will be “Redefining Success, Changing Direction Mid-Stream.” I believe this is a red-hot topic today. There are so many successful, wealthy people in the world who have become gazillionaires overnight. Want to find out the secret to their success? The speakers at the 2015 TEDxNapaValley conference will offer their personal insight on changing direction mid-stream as their concept of achievement shifts. Attendees will hear from individuals who redefined success for … [Read more...]

Are you attending the Napa Valley Film Festival?

Napa Valley Film Festival

One of my favorite local events is the Napa Valley Film Festival, otherwise known as NVFF14. This year, the NVFF14 will take place November 12-16 at several unique venues in Napa, Yountville, St. Helena and Calistoga. Not only do we get a chance to see some of the year’s best films, but the festival is also a chance to rub elbows with entertainment industry elite! Here are some of the faces I’m looking forward to seeing: On opening night at the Uptown Theater, the Festival Gala will be aflutter with stars including both Mike Meyers and Kevin Costner who will be in attendance to support the their new films. I’ve heard great things … [Read more...]

The best mobile app for wine tasting in California: Winery Geek

winery geek app

I just found out about the best mobile app for wine tasting in California. It’s called Winery Geek. Sponsored by the largest winery publication in the sunshine state, Winery Geek offers the most comprehensive database of all California wineries, featuring 2100+. Along with a list or map of nearby wineries, users can easily find winery hours, directions, a click-to-call link, a link to the winery’s website and another link that pulls up the winery’s Yelp page. The Winery Geek includes the ability to search for wineries by varietals offered or by specific attributes including caves, food and wine pairing, picnic areas, vineyard or winery tours … [Read more...]

Is Earthquake Insurance Worth Having?

earthquake insurance

Having experienced the violent, 6.0 earthquake that hit Napa Valley at 3:20 a.m. on August 24th, the answer to this question for me is a resounding “yes!" I was wide-awake when the quake hit. It felt like my new home had come off the foundation and was moving back and forth by a foot or two. Miraculously, not one thing in my home, inside or out, moved an inch. Unfortunately this was not the experience for many residents of Napa, Yountville and Oakville. Many people lost everything in the quake – their homes were trashed and commercial buildings in downtown Napa suffered severe damage while gas and water lines broke. The estimated damage … [Read more...]