You love the lifestyle in Napa. The prices in Napa? Not so much. If your budget is for a “house blend” rather than a “rare vintage,” you might assume it’s too expensive to live in the vineyards. That’s not the case. We found four cities in wine country where you can sip local wine on your patio without spending a fortune on your home.
Traverse City, Michigan
Median Sales Price: $220,650
The mountain-like dunes on the shore of Lake Michigan are not Traverse City‘s only geographic feature. The location near the lake provides the city with ideal conditions for growing cool-climate grapes, which is not possible anywhere else in the region. Wine experts love the region’s Rieslings and both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are also popular varieties from Traverse City. And there’s more praise for the natural beauty of the region’s 35 wineries, especially those on the panoramic Leelanau Peninsula. Whether you’re gazing across Grand Traverse Bay from Chateau Chantel or at the rolling lavender fields of Brys Estate, the view is a perfect match for the wine.
Although Traverse City is popular with summer vacationers, it doesn’t shut down after the high season. Most wineries are open year-round and the entertainment and arts scene is lively with events, galleries and film screenings at the restored State Theatre. With a median sales price of $220,650, you’d have room in your budget to explore it all.
Median Sales Price: $296,500
Just like Traverse City, Palisade has a microclimate that allows for the cultivation of products initially thought not possible in Colorado. The most well-known crop is grapes – the region is home to two-thirds of the state’s vineyard acre and one-quarter of its wineries. Vineyards, orchards, wineries and tasting rooms are everywhere in this small town, and they’re all full of local Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon. At Varaison Vineyards and Winery, locals gather around the campfire on Fridays for wine tastings and s’mores. Residents enjoy outdoor adventures at Mount Garfield and Mount Lincoln, as well as weekend festivals like Colorado Mountain Winefest in September.
Wineries are located throughout the city, so residents are always close to a one regardless of their budget or address. You don’t need a million-dollar bank account to live near a winery here. With an average sale price of $296,500, it’s easy to make a good life here.
Walla Walla, Washington
Median Sales Price: $252,111
When Italians immigrated to Walla Walla in the late 1800s, they brought a gift with them: winemaking know-how. Unfortunately, it took them nearly 100 years to figure out how grapes could survive the often volatile weather here. Today, the area is known for its Cabernet Sauvignon but there are also many vines for Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Merlot and Malbec. There are over 120 wineries in Walla Walla, including one owned by NFL star Drew Bledsoe and a mini-winery on the grounds of the local airport.
Although locals take their wine seriously, the vibe in Walla Walla is as lighthearted as its name. One of the best restaurants of this town is located in a gas station – Andrae’s Kitchen, run by acclaimed chef Andrae Bopp. And in the town’s wineries, you’ll meet winemakers who mingle with guests or as in the case of Julia Russell of Mansion Creek Cellars, teach them flamenco moves.
Although the Walla Walla wine region is still somewhat under the radar, it’s getting more and more attention. Get a head start while the average selling price is a friendly $252,111.
Tryon, North Carolina
Median Sales Price: $288,500
This small town of 1,700 in the heart of North Carolina’s horse country has a well-deserved reputation as an oasis for the arts. Many actors, artists and writers (including F. Scott Fitzgerald) have lived in this town near the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Visitors and locals love the independent bookstores, galleries and restaurants along Trade Street but Tryon Foothills Wine Country has become an even bigger attraction. The Tryon Foothills are protected from extreme weather by the mountains and have the longest wine growing season in the state. In fact, the area has been known for its prime conditions for growing grapes for more than a century. Today, a wide variety of wine grapes are grown in the area, including Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. At Mountain Brook Vineyard, grapes are harvested entirely by hand. And at Overmountain Vineyards, a father-daughter team handcrafts French-style wine.
Let us know in the comment section whether you are thinking about buying a home in one of those four towns.