Located about 25 miles northeast of Calistoga and 90 miles north of San Francisco, Guenoc Valley is one of the only wine-growing regions currently in Lake County, Napa County’s northern neighbor. Wines are being grown on and near the 21,000 acre-plus Langtry Estate, which is regarded as among the most beautiful and largest private land holdings in California. This landscape boasts the cleanest, most pristine air in the state, along with some of the most spectacular and varied terrain. Into this unique environment comes one of the most exciting developments we’ve heard about in recent years: Lotusland Investment Group’s Maha Resort at Guenoc Valley.
What is the Maha Resort Development in Lake County?
Lotusland Investment Group, based in San Francisco, acquired the Langtry Estate in Guenoc Valley in 2016. The group, led by Mr. Xu Yiming, along with Adrian Zecha, founder of the Aman International resort brand, and Jonathan Breene, founder of Setai, develops resorts with attached planned developments that exceed current standards for upscale properties. The Maha Resort Development represents approximately $5 billion in initial investment, and it will include wineries, full-service spas, destination restaurants, and custom homes on lake and mountain parcels from 2 to 500 acres.
Maha is the first of Lotusland Investment Group’s developments, and it includes stewardship of the land and the existing local community. The development has been designed to provide minimum environmental disruption and maximum sustainability and mindfulness.
Representing a “next generation” in planned upscale developments, Maha seems to be a perfect fit for the present moment, when high net worth individuals are seeking to move out of urban areas to more natural, healthy and pristine environments.
What is the Guenoc Valley development, and how large is it?
Lotusland Investment Group says that the Maha development is intended to be one of the world’s pre-eminent luxury resort communities. The property encompasses 22,000 acres, which is more than two-thirds the size of the Disney properties in central Florida. The property is currently a ranch, farm and undeveloped land, with approximately 2,000 acres of vineyards.
What will the Lotusland Investment Group project include?
The Guenoc Valley project is a mixed-use development, and it will include multiple 5-star luxury resorts. The resorts will include boutique hotels designed by four internationally acclaimed architects and interior designers. The focus of each resort property will be on locally sourced foods, wines, and artisan-made amenities and art.
The master-planned development is inspired by retreat culture, a long-standing tradition in Lake County and other regions in wine country. It is a low-impact development incorporating extensive open space preservation and sustainable animal and crop management. The development also will incorporate fuel reduction management to reduce its environmental impact. Solar fields, wastewater reclamation, pastures and locally sourced farm produce are also included in the project.
Construction plans include commercial resorts, single-family homes and estates, a golf course and equestrian center, and destination restaurants, along with spas and other amenities. Lots range from 2 acres to 500 acres, and the overall project is extremely low density.
Where and how will estates be incorporated into the development?
In addition to the spas and boutique hotels included in the Guenoc Valley development, six resort communities with varying numbers of available lots are included. The communities include Bohn Ridge, Red Hill Estates, the Resort at Trout Flat, Maha Farm, the Spa and the Equestrian Center. The number of residential estates in each community range from 11 homes near the Spa to 139 parcels surrounding the Maha Farm. Home sizes will range from two-bedroom cottages designed by Howard Backen of Backen, Gillam & Kroeger, to custom estates that may be designed by one of the other renowned architects affiliated with the project.
Exciting, unique features of the Maha development
I intend the Maha Farm to be the heart of the development. It will be a working, sustainable farm that will provide food for the restaurants and hotel. Plantings will include vegetables and fruit and nut trees. The primary architect for the majority of the development is Howard Backen, renowned as one of Napa Valley’s leading architects and a tremendous influence on the wine country aesthetic. Current livestock grazing (sheep, cattle and goat) is anticipated to continue. The development also is being designed with low-impact fire-reduction tactics, fire breaks, and an active fire management plan to minimize the fire risk to homes and resorts.
No resort development would be complete without a world-class golf course, and the Renaissance Golf Course, which is designed by Tom Doak, includes three clubhouses along with ample space for events.
Maha’s equestrian facility also goes far beyond barns and training fields. The full equestrian and polo facility is designed by Nacho Figueroa, the world’s top polo player. In terms of wine production and restaurants, Harlan Estate founder and international wine leader Bill Harlan is working with Maha’s wine production, and Thomas Keller of the French Laundry, Bouchon and Per Se, is involved in the development of Maha’s restaurants within its boutique hotels and elsewhere. Lotusland Investment Group’s team have already been involved in the creation of some of the world’s most-renowned destination resorts, Aman Experiences, designed by Adrian Zecha.
A low-impact development
Among the many exciting features of the Maha Development in Guenoc Valley is its commitment to having a low impact on the environment and sophisticated, intelligent design. The project really seems as though it is growing out of the land, in cooperation with the land. It relies on the existing road network, and it’s incorporating the best fire-prevention design. Grazing, foraging livestock will aid in the project’s sustainable food concept as well as in fire reduction. And, in the few cases where it will be necessary to build on a site with large, mature native trees, the trees will be relocated.
The development is also anticipated to have a very low carbon footprint, ultra-efficient energy use, and will re-use 100% of its water. It’s hard to imagine a more ideally designed project for the location and land use as well as the needs and interests of its intended upscale future visitors and residents.
What is the time frame for development?
Opportunities to be a founding owner are anticipated to open in fall 2020. Founders will not only receive a pricing discount for their custom estates, but they also will be able to enjoy events at Maha’s City Club in Jackson Square in San Francisco, located one block from Kokkari Restaurant. I look forward to sharing more updates about this exciting and forward-looking project. For further information or to reserve your position as a Founding owner, please reach out to me directly.