Welcome to St. Helena
A city that elevates wine country living to new heights. Surrounded by the vineyards that are Napa Valley’s claim to fame, this small yet cosmopolitan city is also home to a vibrant art scene, award-winning restaurants, high-end spas, and unforgettable outdoor experiences.
The city is part of Napa County and is the heart of the St. Helena American Viticultural Area, which encompasses 9,000 acres and is one of the country’s premier wine grape-growing regions. Just over 6,000 people
reside within St. Helena’s five square-mile territory, which gives this affluent city a cozy vibe.
St. Helena’s Main Street is the heart of the community and is lined with charming boutique stores, local eateries, and art galleries. The city is home to two of Napa Valley’s pioneering vineyards, as well as the renowned Culinary Institute of America at Greystone
It is bordered by Angwin to the north, Sugarloaf Ridge State Park to the south, Santa Rosa to the west, and Lake Berryessa to the east. The Napa Town Center is merely 30 minutes away by car, while San Francisco is about an hour’s drive via California State Route 29 and Interstate 80.
One visit is all it takes to fall in love with St. Helena, a small city where a world of delightful experiences awaits. For its beautiful surroundings, sophisticated lifestyle, and colorful culture, St. Helena was named as Niche.com’s
#1 Best Place to Live in Napa County.
History of St. Helena
Great things come from humble beginnings and that’s certainly the case for St. Helena. What started as nondescript ranchland in Napa Valley would become one of the area’s premier real estate markets. Just like the wines that its vineyards produce, St. Helena has only gotten better with age.
1834— The area is settled as part of General Mariano Vallejo’s land grant
1848— David Hudson and John York build their homes in St. Helena’s current city limits and start ranching operations.
1853— John Kister establishes a shoe-making and repair shop, kickstarting commercial trade in the area.
1876— Through a special act of legislature, St. Helena is incorporated into a city. The pioneering Beringer Vineyards would also be established in the same year. The city would be reincorporated in 1879 with a new board of trustees.
1887— The First National Bank of St. Helena is established with a capital stock of $50,000 and about half a million dollars in deposits.
1908— Business magnate Andrew Carnegie donates $8,500 to St. Helena for the construction of a library.
Present— St. Helena retains its deep agricultural roots, and has become a key business and financial hub for Napa Valley’s wine industry. It also has a robust tourist industry, thanks to the various vineyards in the area.
Real Estate in St. Helena
According to Niche.com
, almost 60% of residents in St. Helena own their homes, making it a sparse suburban locale. This means that while the city is decidedly suburban, houses aren’t as densely packed as in other communities. This makes it an excellent choice for families who want more space and privacy.
As you’d expect from a suburb, most of the property listings in St. Helena are single-family homes. Note, however, that a home in the heart of California’s wine country will cost a pretty penny — as of 2020, the median price is around $1.4M according to Zillow
. The area’s median income of $78,421 also makes it clear that St. Helena attracts well-heeled individuals who enjoy the good life. Purchasing a property in the city is an excellent investment as home values have appreciated by 6.5% over the past 10 years.
Listings in St. Helena typically have four bedrooms and three bathrooms, with the average home size being around 3,000 sq.ft. And while these properties command premium pricing, they do come with deluxe features such as chef’s kitchens, well-appointed master bedrooms, spa-like bathrooms, and spacious outdoor living areas.
Many homes have fantastic views of Napa Valley’s rolling hills and picturesque vineyards. Prime listings are often found in family-friendly gated communities, but there are also one-of-a-kind estates geared towards luxury real estate buyers.
Whatever your aesthetic preferences are, you’re sure to find a home that ticks all of your checkboxes. Agents can show you properties
in a broad range of architectural styles, from Mediterranean Revival to ranch-style, to contemporary designs.
To find the ideal property in California’s Napa Valley, be sure to work with trusted agents
that specialize in the area.
Living in St. Helena
St. Helena is a city that marries small-town charm with a world-class quality of life. And it won’t take long for you to discover the many perks of living in the heart of California’s wine country.
For a closer look at the lifestyle St. Helena offers, take a look at this community guide:
Cost of living
The privilege of living in Napa Valley comes at a premium, with BestPlaces.net estimating that St. Helena’s overall living cost is 50% higher than the national average. While that figure might seem daunting at first glance, it’s worth noting that St. Helena offers exclusivity and access that few cities in the state offer. And while the upfront costs may be steep, houses in high-demand communities like St. Helena tend to accumulate value much faster than those in less desirable locations.
Great schools are a trademark of excellent communities, and St. Helena is no different. The St. Helena Unified School District runs the city’s primary, elementary, middle, and high schools. There is strong support from the community because the school district employs a bottom-up approach wherein stakeholders help craft educational policies. Niche.com gives the city’s public schools a glowing “A” grade, with high marks for academics, teacher quality, diversity, and college preparedness. BestPlaces.net, meanwhile, says that local schools spend about $25,304 per student — double the national average.
If you love great food, you’ll definitely love St. Helena’s excellent food scene. LongMeadow Ranch isn’t just a leading local winery, it’s also home to a farm-to-table restaurant that can’t be missed. Got a sweet tooth? Woodhouse Chocolatier’s handcrafted confections have earned the attention of Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, and Oprah’s O-List. And for the best cocktails in town, head over to Goose & Gander to order signature mixes like the Prohibition Pops Daiquiri or Angry Moscow Mule.
You can’t talk about wineries in St. Helena without talking about Charles Krug, the oldest wine estate in Napa Valley, or Beringer Vineyards, which offers both wine tastings and a tour of its castle-like main house. For a bit of history and nostalgia, drop by Cameo Cinema, which has one of the oldest silver screens in the country. Outdoor lovers, meanwhile, will surely love the miles of hiking and biking trails found at MooreCreek Park.
Ask locals where the best place to relax is and they’ll invariably point you to Health SpaNapa Valley, which offers various massages, beauty treatments, and pampering packages. St. Helena also has a vibrant art scene, and MEUSE Gallery on Main Street has the largest collection of Simon Bull artwork. Golfing enthusiasts can practice their swing at Meadowood Napa Valley, which has a nine-hole walking course that’s suitable for players of all skill levels.
Come home to St. Helena
St. Helena, California gives a new meaning to refined living, thanks to its top-notch location, high quality of life, and myriad leisure activities. And its safe environment, excellent schools, and diverse residents make it an ideal place to live for families.
If you’d like exclusive access to prime St. Helena listings, get in touch with me, Joe Brasil
, anytime. I look forward to making your search for your wine country dream home a stress-free experience.