The former home of the late Robert Mondavi, set into a grove of ancient oak trees on a sprawling 56-acre estate, will go under the hammer next month for a minimum bid of $13.9m – half the original asking price.
Auctioneer Sheldon Good & Company says that the base figure represents a 44% reduction from an original asking price of $25m last year when the house was put on sale but failed to find any buyers.
The estate in the sought-after Stags Leap district was designed for Robert Mondavi and his wife Margrit by eminent architect Cliff May in 1979.
Mondavi’s granddaughter Carissa Mondavi told Decanter.com that the Mondavis had planned the sale in advance.
‘My grandfather was always very forward thinking, so this was established well before his passing and is in keeping with decisions he and Margrit made together,’ she said.
The estate enjoys stunning 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains, meadows and vineyards of Napa Valley, but experts suggest that one of the reasons it has failed to find a buyer is its idiosyncratic character.
The property is unique, Cheri Stanley of Frank Howard Allen realtors in Napa told the Napa Valley Register, but the buyer pool for such a home is relatively small.
‘It’s very customized for a particular lifestyle, which was two elderly, wealthy people. They built it as their dream house.’
The property would need to be updated, Stanley said, pointing out that it has an indoor pool when most people prefer outdoor, and only two bedrooms.
Sheldon Good & Company CEO John Cuticelli described the estate as ‘an eccentric property’ that is not easy to sell in a straight sale.
‘In this price range, I have given up trying to figure out what drives people,’ Cuticelli added. ‘An auction presents a pricing floor, creating opportunities.’ He would not speculate on how high the bids could go,
The property is available for inspection until November 13 by appointment only. Bids should be submitted to Sheldon Good & Company by November 16.
Written by Panos Kakaviatos