CFAH

As we outlined in July of last year, the 6,000-square-foot “Villa Cucina,” which sits on 40 acres of prime Napa Valley land, was built for Pat Kuleto, the famed San Francisco restaurateur, back in 1995.

The centerpiece of the rustic five-bedroom home is an oversized kitchen designed by Kuleto himself, outfitted with commercial grade appliances, an indoor grill, a pizza oven and plenty of counter space.  There’s another pizza oven, bar and dining area outdoors, along with an infinity edge pool and big Napa Valley views.

And having hit the market priced at $8.499 million in May of 2018, the asking price for the property was reduced to $7.999 million that July; to $6.999 million in the fourth quarter of 2018; to $6.15 million in January of 2019; to $5.999 million in March of 2019; to $5.699 million in August of 2019; to $5.5 million in September of 2019; to $4.895 million in July of 2019; and then reduced to $3.875 million this past April, at which point it was listed anew with an official “1” day on the market, the sale of Villa Cucina (a.k.a 2460 Sage Canyon Road in Saint Helena) has just closed escrow with a contract price of $3.875 million or roughly 46 percent of its original list and expectations.

And yes, the sale was officially “at asking,” and with only “146 days on the market,” according to all industry stats and aggregate reports.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Panhandle Pro

    From their website: “Due to the impacts of the 2020 Hennessey Fire, the Kuleto property remains closed for guest experiences until further notice.” Google Maps shows 2021 imagery for that area, and it looks to me like large swaths of land to the north burned.

    The buyer is gambling big time in buying directly in the fire zone, which has to be the main reason 40 acres and a 6K square foot house went for only $3.8M.

    • Posted by SFRealist

      I would not be surprised to see many people making this same calculation going forward. Life in the country is great, but not so much when your house burns down. Expect also to see it harder and harder to get insurance for these homes.

      • Posted by Panhandle Pro

        The craziest part is that it appears he’s *already* had his home burn down before. Doesn’t want to keep playing with fire? From Wikipedia:

        “After making wine for 25 years, Kuleto established the Kuleto Estate Family Winery on an 800-acre (3.2 km2) property in Napa Valley. He purchased the estate in 1992 as a replacement for his old home, which had burned down, and spent the next five years building a 6,000-square-foot (560 m2) home there, which he called Villa Cucina.”

        • Posted by Notcom

          It appears that – like the ‘3 Pigs’ – he did learn his lesson: he built in masonry.

        • Posted by BobN

          So the estate was 800 acres and he just sold the house with 40 acres?

      • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

        Anecdotally I’ve noticed the largest number of “For Sale” signs ever in the Santa Cruz Mountains, especially in areas with zero defensible space.

        A common SF Bay Area retirement strategy has been to sell and then buy in the mountains cheap (usually the Sierra foothills). That strategy might get disrupted.

    • Posted by John K.

      “The buyer is gambling big time in buying directly in the fire zone, which has to be the main reason 40 acres and a 6K square foot house went for only $3.8M.”

      That sounds like a good bet – nothing is more fireproof than land that has already burned through …

  2. Posted by DAA

    I wonder where the Attorney General and Governor will land on letting insurance companies use climate change models to impact coverage? No insurance means cash offers only. Maybe that’s fine for these high-end outliers, but for regular property owners in the area…

    • Posted by Notcom

      Are they prohibited from doing so now ?? Denial of coverage has become commonplace in FireZones.

      • Posted by DK

        There’s a one-year ban on dropping folks in CA.

        I fear this is moral hazard. Even with the ever-present threat of fire, people still congregate to these danger zones. Only a financial toll appears to have much impact.

        • Posted by Notcom

          It appears to be not really CA, as much as CA* (* areas impacted by current fire disasters); tho I don’t know if there are other laws/edicts w/ broader application…it wouldn’t surprise me.

          That having been said, it’s not hard to see were moving toward an assigned risk model.

      • Posted by SFRealist

        I think you’re right. Even this one year ban, will it also apply to people moving there? Existing residents may get a short reprieve, but in the long run, fire insurance will be either impossible or prohibitively expensive. Although it might not be in the long run, it might happen quickly. Fire season is only getting worse.

    • Posted by John

      The shrubs across the street nearly cost him his home insurance according to Berkelyside.

      It’s not yet common, but in high-risk fire neighborhoods, Berkeley Hills residents may find that keeping their home insurance depends on how well their neighbors prune their property.

  3. Posted by soccermom

    Loosely plugged, even wireless readers are not surprised by this outcome.

  4. Posted by BobN

    Dang. I hadn’t noticed the guest house (or two).

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