Miracle on Highway 1

If your Christmas wish is Marin County’s oldest operating winery and tasting room, well, have I got news for you! The Point Reyes Vineyards winery is up for sale for the very first time in its existence.  After nearly 30 years, thousands of wines, and numerous awards, owner Steve Doughty, has finally put the property on the market.  

“I’m 77 years old and I’ve got a new fiancée (they plan to marry in 2020) and we want to travel around the world. So I am going to put it on the market and see who buys it.”

Point Reyes Vineyard Inn and Winery was the first winery and tasting room to open in Marin County since Prohibition, says Doughty. And he might be right. It is certainly the first one to stay open. Doughty and his then wife Sharon, née Mendoza, (who passed away in December 2014), started the winery in a barn on the dairy property owned by the couple in 1990.

“We planted the grapes in 1990,” says Doughty. “And our first wine was made in 1994.”

 It was a sparkling wine made from grapes on the property produced for a private wedding. The winery’s first commercially available product came the next year, the tasting room followed, and the winery has been producing highly regarded wines ever since.

Their 2007 estate-grown pinot noir won the 2011 silver award at both the California State Wine Fair and the San Francisco Wine Competition, their 2009 Syrah took bronze at the 2015 State Fair, and their 2008 Syrah won silver at the 2015 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Awards.

“To make a small fortune in the wine business, you have to start with a large fortune, and that is pretty much how it goes,” says Doughty. “Farming is a hard job and it is really hard to find distribution, especially for a small winery.”

Up for sale, are 83 acres of the ranch, the new 12,000-foot storage facility (finished last year), and about $3 million worth of inventory. All for a cool $7 million. Vanguard Properties is the listing agent.

“It’s time,” says Doughty “I don’t have anybody in the family who wants it. My nephew who works at the winery is moving on for his engineering career, so this should be a win/win for everyone.”

Point Reyes Vineyard Inn and Winery is located on scenic Highway 1, next to an organic dairy farm overlooking Point Reyes National Seashore.

“I’m moving off the ranch and right next door onto the bed and breakfast property which we still will own,” Doughty says. That 2-acre lot was carved off during the 1960s and houses the three-room inn that opened in 1999. Doughty will still retain his “lifetime” lease on the Quail Hill vineyards in Terra Linda, one of only two cabernet sauvignon vineyards in all of Marin County.

“We are going to live there and use that as a base for our travels,” says Doughty. The couple plans to wed in February and leave for Panama in April.

For more information: 415-306-0900 (inn), 415-663-1552 (winery) 707-933-6200 (listing agent). Website: www.ptreyesvineyardinn.com