These homes come with your own vineyard

Homes in Trevi Hills are not cheap, but at least you can get a boatload of wine out of the deal.

Buyers in the 800-acre Lakeside development are part of a new real estate experiment in which they can set aside part of their one-to-two-acre property to produce wine.

Because most people are not automatic experts at managing vines, a nearby winery will prune and crush the grapes, mix the blends, provide temperature-controlled storage and slap a private label on it.

As part of the co-op program, owners need to purchase vines (about $4.50 each), pay for water and use their land. Then, they get half of all the wine produced. The rest will be sold to the public.

“We’re growing good wine,” said Matt Deal, the general manager of Trevi Hills.

Homes in the development are roughly 3,000- to 4,000-square-feet and costs range from $935,000 to $1.1 million. The San Diego County median price for newly built homes was $625,750 in September, real estate tracker CoreLogic said.

It is highly unlikely a similar project would be approved today. Lot sizes for the project’s master plan, approved by San Diego County in the early 1980s, are massive compared to land-strapped San Diego today where dense multifamily homes are the norm.

The project, originally called The Vineyards at High Meadow Ranch, languished under different owners for years. An attempt to kickstart the project in 2008 faltered as the Great Recession hit. Pacifica Companies began construction on the gated community in January.

The name Trevi is taken from the famous Trevi Fountain in Rome — an attempt to connect the project to the Italian feel of the vineyard.

At final buildout, there will be 250 homes. At this point, the developer plans to sell 18 to 20 a year. There have been eight homes completed on the site, all sold, and of eight more under construction, four have sold.

Brad and Natalie Woods bought one of the homes in March because they said they love wine and were used to wide-open land in Illinois. They moved to the region to be closer to their son and grandchildren.

“We love the uniqueness of it,” Natalie Woods said .

The couple had looked at homes in La Mesa and Alpine before hearing about Trevi Hills. Brad Woods, a wine connoisseur, said it was the idea that homeowners would be able to produce wine that appealed to him.

“If you like wine, you get to see the process from the beginning,” he said.

Trevi Hills said most buyers so far have been empty nesters from San Diego County but there is potential for families.

The development is on the road to Barona Resort and Casino in the Muth Valley, not on Barona Indian Reservation land, and is near several schools, including El Capitan High School.

Trevi Hills opened a winery to the public on the land in October with wine they have been growing since last year. It is open Friday through Sunday and by appointment the rest of the week. It sells Syrah, Sangiovese, Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc.

Homeowners don't have to grow wine, but developers said most buyers and potential buyers like the concept.

phillip.molnar@sduniontribune.com (619) 293-1891 Twitter: @phillipmolnar

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