Wine properties are experiential. A little earthiness under the fingernails ties owners to the land and to the community.
Jim and Karen Odom developed their wine palate living in Europe. Jim Odom served 20 years overseas in the United States Air Force, followed by stints as a chief executive in the defense industry. After “retiring” back to their native South, the Odoms turned their passion into a “bud-to-bottle” investment, developing a family-run vineyard in Hampshire, Tennessee.
“As chief executive, I was always reporting to others,” Odom says. “Now my wife and I are the chairmen, the board of directors, and the shareholders. We have our fate in our own hands and that's very rewarding.”
Michael Dreyfus of Golden Gate Sotheby's International Realty in Palo Alto, California, has a listing for a 6.4- acre “gentleman's vineyard” in the premium Silicon Valley town of Woodside. The property includes a 6,000-squarefoot residence, a guesthouse and an entertainment pavilion. Farther south in the city of Gilroy is a 932-acre ranch that includes 22 acres of award-winning vineyards and a 1930s residence designed by modernist architect William Wurster.
For Jim Odom, the wine-country life is “therapeutic.” “My wife and I sit on the patio overlooking the vineyard and drink one of our Cabernets,” he says. “I'm not sure it gets much better than this.”