The Legendary Estate

The Calistoga estate, which stretches into both Sonoma and Napa counties, can also be considered the ultimate piece of football memorabilia. Seeing as sports fanatics have been known to drop ridiculous prices for collectors’ items from their favorite stars, there could be no greater treasure for a wealthy “Joe Cool” enthusiast than to own Villa Montana. Forget a signed football or jersey. Joe can be considered the “Soul of San Francisco,” and this estate is the literal manifestation of that soul. Joe and Jennifer worked tirelessly to build Villa Montana as a haven for their family in the likeness of a Tuscan estate that exudes the California wine country lifestyle.

Haute Living met with the Joe and Jennifer at Villa Montana for our cover photo shoot a few weeks before they publicly announced the property was for sale via the Wall Street Journal, who “broke” the story. From the moment our team entered the estate, we were in awe of the sheer beauty of the land. And upon stepping into the home through the seemingly thousand-year-old guard tower surrounded by a moat and drawbridge, immediately, we wondered how the couple could be parting with such a special piece of personal history.

It was Jennifer who answered the query. “We have been living in Thousand Oaks for years now; it’s closer to our business interests and our children have gone to school there.” But Joe stresses how much they love northern California. “We have had so many special times on this property,” he says. “And since we are not able to spend as much time here now, we wanted to be able to allow another family to create their own memories.”

The Montanas have been creating memories of their own on the estate since moving in during 2003. They always knew they wanted to build an estate in wine country, but the process of finding the perfect spot to call home was an arduous task. “We were looking for a place in wine country for years, since before I retired from the NFL,” Joe explains. Jennifer, the more talkative half of the couple, chimes in. “We had just returned from a weekend where we had seen a number of properties when our realtor called. This property wasn’t even on the market yet, but he said that we had to see it.” The couple was hesitant, as they were exhausted from their never-ending search, but turned around and went back to Napa Valley.