WineryX is a Napa Valley-based real estate brokerage
that specializes in the sale and acquisition of
wineries and vineyard estates.
WineryX Real Estate is a business that invented itself, when, in 1999 St. Helena real estate professional Katie Somple listed and sold her first winery there by employing an out-of-the-box marketing approach offering the small winery, vineyard and quintessential farmhouse residence as a lifestyle investment.
The approach caught the attention of wine industry trade journals, and the attention of winery buyers and sellers throughout the state and beyond. Katie recognized an unfilled niche after so many frustrated winery sellers confided in her about the same things:
"Real estate agents around here don't get it."
"Realtors approach our winery like it's a house or commercial building."
“Appraisers don’t know how to appraise our property as a business and a residence.”
“We want to sell but we don’t want people to know we are for sale.”
Eager buyers called Somple as well to gain knowledge and access to small winery and vineyard opportunities for sale, but they too had complaints:
“I have to call a dozen agents to find out what wineries are for sale.”
“How can I get a loan on a hybrid property like this?”
“How do I determine a fair value for a property that has business and life style assets?”
It became evident to Somple that there was a hybrid real estate product in wine country regions that didn't fit any particular niche. It wasn't residential, it wasn't agriculture, and it wasn't a winery- it was all of these things combined. Recognizing that there is no other industry like the wine business that blends components of business and residential assets in this way, and that a hybrid product requires special understanding, education and resources,WineryX stepped in .
“To be perfectly honest”, says Somple, “those first few years were like baptism by fire. I was voraciously reading wine business trade magazines, books and newsletters, attending seminars and talking to anyone with experience in the business.”
Eventually the benefits of hands-on knowledge and learning the hard way paid off. By 2002 Somple had written over $50 million dollars in winery and/or vineyard related offers, and that proved to be just the beginning.
In 2003 Katie discovered how many winery and vineyard buyers who were calling her really just wanted to live the wine country lifestyle- without the cash-intensive risks that come with owning a winery. Somple launched a sister brokerage, Lifestyle Properties and the two St. Helena-based brokerages have blended into one full service agency specializing in small to medium size wineries, winery estates, stand alone vineyards and vineyard estates.
Today WineryX is considered one of the preeminent lifestyle winery brokerages in the state. Having expanded beyond lifestyle wineries into larger scale wineries, Somple works with either winery sellers or buyers- but never both on the same transaction. Somple provides her clients with a keen, no-nonsense, comprehensive bird’s-eye view of this challenging market niche, which is fraught with potential pitfalls. Her clients appreciate how quickly she is able to educate them and provide them with insight and knowledge.