Quixote Winery in Napa Valley has been called “eccentric.” Some have even playfully begun their descriptions of the 8,000 square-foot winery with this phrase: “If Dr. Seuss was an architect…” But to those who have experienced Quixote’s organic architecture and breathtaking secluded surroundings in the golden hillsides of the Stags Leap District appellation, the 42-acre wine-producing property currently offered by Cyd Greer of Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley for $29,950,000—is a world all its own. Explains Carl Doumani, owner of the Quixote: “It’s a happy place. When people visit, they’re smiling. That’s all we wanted to achieve. The architecture prepares you for a good time.”
Designed by the world-famous, free-spirited Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser, the winery is permitted for 20,000 gallons and is the only Hundertwasser building in the United States. The property is home to 29 intoxicating acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, plus a private pond and 3,050 square-foot home. The home is designed by Napa local and Architectural Digest regular Howard Backen who continues the theme of freedom with an open embrace of the outdoors. The estate beckons the wine collector…but a collector with a sense of humor and a free mind who isn’t afraid to trade straight lines and traditional ways of thinking for curved lines and a complete immersion with nature.
“The buyer will be someone who understands the value of the terroir here, the quality of the fruit and the wine made in this location,” said Greer. “It may also be someone who loves Hundertwasser and understands the design value of the winery.”
“It was easy working with him,” says Doumani. “He believed the owner should be the one who had ultimate say in the design. He was only there to make sure it worked.”
Hundertwasser was known for proclaiming, “the straight line is godless,” and it shows in uneven floors, trees rising from the 30 inches of soil covering the roof and found materials covering the surfaces at Quixote Winery. Today, visitors are welcomed by a tree-lined allée and greeted by enveloping branches of old oaks, a walkway through wild grasses and finally a vision of gold that iconic onion-shaped gold leaf dome stretching into the sky.
“The dome was a source of power for Hundertwasser,” explains Doumani. “It was a place to elevate man’s sense of himself.”
When it came time to move residence in 1998, Doumani decided to add an estate home to the property. He commissioned Backen (once called “Napa’s Best Architect” by Food &Wine) to design the contemporary one-bedroom Japanese-style home, which blends seamlessly with the outdoors. Stone steps descend through lilies and native grasses until finally arriving at the entrance—a cedar Shoji door. Cantilevered slightly over a large private pond, the home gives one the sense of floating on water and total seclusion behind a towering Stags Leap palisade, inspiring the kind of serenity only possible in the deepest of wine country. Doumani says one of his favorite pastimes is to sit “on the deck at the puddle house with a bottle of mescal and a cigar.” (But if your daydream includes your favorite Syrah instead, your personal collection is never far away. There is a wine cellar in the home and just down the path, the winery’s large barrel room.) “It’s made for a true vintner, someone who wants to live close to the land,” says Greer.
And speaking of the land it is a legend in its own right. The property was originally a part of the historic Stags’ Leap Winery and borders the vineyards that produce Shafer’s highly acclaimed wines. Sharing the same great dirt as its two illustrious neighbors, the land offers infinite possibilities for producing rarified wine.
“A property this special only comes along once in a lifetime,” adds Greer, a 10-year Napa real estate veteran. “It’s a rare opportunity to purchase 29 acres of prime vineyard at the very heart of one of Napa’s most esteemed and revered wine growing sites.”