Many successful professionals seek to escape through a hobby or passion. Some choose boating, fishing or golf, while others journey to wine country to enjoy a refined, quiet lifestyle away from the daily grind. With the option of owning a fraction of a vineyard, winery or home on a vineyard, the latter becomes an obtainable lifestyle.

Fractional vineyards typically do not produce a great monetary return, but that's not why people want to invest-it's for the lifestyle and experience. Owning part of a home or row of grapes on the property, strolling through the vineyards, learning the wine making process, having access to the "first fruits" of the winery, being invited to private wine tasting parties and enjoying a relaxed culture can be quite appealing to many wine enthusiasts.

Former Santa Barbara County vineyard owner, Dona Hale recalls a comment made by the owner of a small boutique-style vineyard. "You must love it enough to marry it," he said. This man was previously a financial consultant working for a large brokerage house. He left his world of crunching numbers to invest in a new lifestyle of transforming grapes. But full ownership of a winery is not for everyone.

"It's a business like any other," comments Hale. "And it is a lot of work. Fractional ownership makes so much sense in this business. People can come; enjoy the process, taste the wine, and have stylish dinner parties and soirees without worrying about the business side of things. It's a perfect fit for many affluent people who have a love of fine wines and want to experience more than a tour and tasting. They can live on the property for a portion of the year and become involved in the process."

Fractional vineyards work very much like owning a luxury fractional property. Each owner purchases a share of the property which gets them four to five weeks at the residence. Moreover, with vineyards, the owners are also able to indulge their passion for wine. As with any investment, it is wise to do your due diligence to make sure you are getting what you want. We have highlighted a few fractional vineyard opportunities to give you a snapshot of what's available.

Fractional Vineyards

The Ranch on Soda Rock, Alexander Valley, Sonoma, CA

Fractional Ownership: A 1/10 share of a renovated 2,400-square-foot, three bedroom, three bath, open floor plan single-family ranch house.

Cost: $300,000 per share

Property Features:

  • An organic fruit, vegetable and flower garden,
  • 1/3 acre mature Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard and winery
  • A 20x40' salt water swimming pool heated with solar panels
  • A new outdoor kitchen for al fresco dining
  • A boutique winery renovated to host dinner parties

Lifestyle Experience: The opportunity to tend your vineyard and organic gardens side by side with a biodynamic farmer. Learn from stem to bottle how to make estate wine.

Services Available at Additional Costs: Concierge services and on-call, organic chef

The Lodges at Calistoga Ranch, Napa Valley, CA

Fractional Ownership: 27 two-bedroom residences with 2,500 square feet of indoor/outdoor living space. Home includes a secluded outdoor shower garden and outdoor jetted spa tub.

Cost: $475,000 and up

Property Features:

  • 157-acre canyon and Lake Lommel
  • Lakehouse restaurant
  • Spa, The Bathhouse at Calistoga Ranch, part of a five-star luxury resort
  • Cabernet vineyard
  • Short drive from San Francisco Bay Area
  • Open-air exercise facility
  • Miles of hiking trails
  • The Wine Cave for private parties and wine tastings. Owners can also store personal wine collections in a key-access-only locker.

Lifestyle Experience: Lodge Owners can learn the art of pruning, join in the harvest, participate in the crush or assist in bottling and corking Calistoga Ranch's private label. They can participate in the annual wine blending soiree, where owners stand side-by-side with notable local winemakers to blend, cork and label their own wine.

Wine Estate Capital Management, France & South Africa

Fractional Ownership: Owners can choose between two Bordeaux vineyards and two South African Vineyards. Fractional wine estate ownership offers three to five weeks at the estate. Owners also receive 12 cases (144 bottles) of wine; and financial returns in the form of dividends, profit sharing and value appreciation of the estate.

Cost: Starting at €100,000

The Napa Valley Reserve, Napa Valley, CA

Fractional Membership: This 80 acre property is overseen by the Harlan Estate viniculture and winemaking team and works more like a country club for wine enthusiasts.

Cost: $165,000

Property Features:

  • Wine tastings and dinners throughout the year
  • Olive groves
  • Gardens and Beekeeping
  • Custom Wine Label Design
  • Seminars with noted winemakers, authors, historians

Lifestyle Experience:The 400 members come from all over the world and can join in the wine making process as much or as little as they like. Members can choose to receive from 6 to 75 cases of the estate wine each year and can even have a special blend created for them. The Reserve holds events throughout the year for its members and with the help of Harlan Estates aims to produce some of the best wines in the world.