The Unbelievable Story of How the Land Found Us
We’ve all experienced it – that moment when the quantitative passage of time is overtaken by a qualitative moment of perfection, when time stands still and the moment is aligned with pure destiny. Such is the work of Castiel, the angel of divine timing. And such is a moment of what the ancient Greeks called kairos, when on 2-3-14, the land found us.
After several exhausting days of pursuing dead-end vineyard acquisition leads, our dear friend Neil Aldoroty arranged a meeting with his long-time friend and, unbeknownst to us, one of Napa Valley’s most highly regarded viticulturists, Jim Barbour. Jim and Kathleen connected immediately as they soon discovered they had both worked for the family that owned Freemark Abbey Winery. Jim was sympathetic to our situation but not surprised, because for as long as he could remember, no vineyard worth purchasing ever made it to market. At the end of the meeting, Jim said, “Too bad you guys weren’t here a few months ago – the perfect property for growing cabernet was available up on Howell Mountain, but it sold. You guys seem like nice people. I’ll keep an eye out for you, but don’t get your hopes up.”
The realization that we might never return to Napa Valley as vintners and growers was now visceral. If the last meeting of the day with our St. Helena realtor, Yvonne Rich, didn’t provide a viable lead, we knew it would be next to impossible to find the right property. After reviewing the agenda for visiting her vineyard listings in southern Napa and realizing her listings would not work for us, an exasperated Dave started to leave the meeting when Yvonne unexpectedly handed us a fax and said, “You might also find this property interesting, it just fell out of escrow twenty minutes ago.” Seeing it was vacant land on Howell Mountain and thinking “Could this really be it?”, Dave ran back across the street to confirm with Jim that the perfect property he had just told us about had in fact fallen out of escrow at precisely the moment he was telling us about it. “Yep, this is it. I can’t believe it. Buy it now before someone else gets it!” Thirty minutes later, with multiple back up offers nipping at our heels, we were under contract; the land had found us.