Client Testimonials

MacRostie Winery and Vineyards

Winter 2016 

From the buyer:

"In my book, Michael Crain is the go-to guy for vineyard and winery land transactions in northern California. He found us the perfect site perched on a beautiful knoll overlooking Russian River Valley, complete with all necessary permits. He is a wonderful person, who upon first meeting, convinces you of his ability to get the job done. He is trustworthy, honest and transparent in all he does. Having known Michael well and now reflecting on my four-decade career in the wine business, I count him as one of the true professionals. I have always wanted a home for MacRostie that expresses who we are as a winery and what we believe in as clearly as our wines do. Our new home in the Russian River Valley is the culmination of that dream."

Steve MacRostie

Winery Founder and Winemaker

MacRostie Winery And Vineyards


Whitehall Lane Winery & Vineyards, Napa Valley, California

Spring, 2012

From the buyer:

"Michael is one of the few brokers who understands and knows vineyards.

Most brokers completely "fake it."  I'm sure you probably know this.  Michael doesn't!!

Michael is also really attentive to detail -- no matter how small.  He will represent you well.

It is a good time to buy a vineyard.  I think grape prices will rise 100% in the next 10 years.  I just bought a vineyard in Sonoma from a client Michael also represented and was quite pleased with Michael."

Thomas Leonardini Sr.


Whitehall Lane Winery & Vineyards

Saint Helena, Napa Valley, California


Duncan-Rassi Vineyards, Sonoma Valley, California

Spring, 2012

From the seller:

 "Just a short note to say thank you for all your help.  You got it done.  You had all the tools to get our Vineyard sold... 

from the start of this project until escrow closed and the SOLD sign was placed on the FOR SALE sign.  You were very professional and informed on all aspects of my vineyards, offered great advertisement, and coverage on my property. 


You made working with you and your company very easy.  I will tell others about you and how you took good care of me.  Thank you, Michael."

Dennis W. Rassi


Duncan-Rassi Vineyards

Sonoma Valley, California



MYSTIC HILLS RANCH:  Emerys Sell Estate In Sonoma Valley, California

Spring, 2011

"Michael's most prestigious transaction in 2011 was his exclusive representation and the sale of Mystic Hills Ranch, a 360-acre $19,500,000 vineyards estate property in Sonoma Valley, California. 


In Michael Crain's own words:

"John and Deborah Emery's Mystic Hills Ranch was one of the most beautiful properties I have ever seen:  there were lakes; horse stables; an exquisitely designed residence; guest houses and a hospitality center to showcase Emery Estate wines.  One drove up through some of the most beautiful landscape anyone can find anywhere in the northern California wine country.  There were rows of Olive and Cypress trees, and Lavender fields surrounding the structures.  Mystic Hills Ranch had been home to John and Deborah since the 1980s, a place where family and friends enjoyed the best of the good life in wine country....

Most treasured of all, by me, is the personal friendship my wife Anya and I enjoy with John and Deborah.  It is a friendship built on a solid foundation and one that transcends business, grounded on trust, and sustained by deep respect. 

To represent clients who are also friends, brings it all together for me in the most satisfying way.  I was honored to have personally been chosen to represent the Emery family for this important sale.  John and Deborah continue to honor me with their trust by choosing me to represent them in all Emery family real estate transactions."

Michael Crain

Founder and President


"It gives me great pleasure to give Michael Crain my heartfelt endorsement in his life's work as a superlative real estate broker.  His expertise lies in the realm of land acquisition and sales, especially as it relates to vineyard properties in both Sonoma and Napa counties.

When my wife and I chose Michael to sell our 360-acre ranch in the hills above Sonoma, we did so because we felt confident that of all the real estate brokers in the area (and we are very friendly with many of them), we had confidence that Michael Crain could do the job better than anyone -- mainly because of his knowledge of the product that he was selling, his passion for his work, his tenacity and his unconditional commitment to finding the right buyer, at the right price, for our very beautiful ranch.

Michael was sensitive to the fact that we had put 25-years of work and dedication into developing our ranch.  We had planted 40-acres of premium vineyards and were in the midst of creating a niche in the high-end of the market for our sought-after cabernet wines.  He was also aware, that although our intention was to sell only one of the three parcels that comprised the property, 'reading between the lines,' he knew that the Emerys were willing to let their dreams go, in order to to have less challenges in their retirement years. We had decided and were willing to sell the entire ranch if the right buyer were to come along.

The hurdle that Michael had to overcome was that there was a partner on title, on a portion of the ranch, who did not want to sell his share. This is where Michael really dug in and artfully negotiated a deal between a willing buyer of the entire property, a reluctant partner and the Emerys.  The transaction was completed in four months! 

During the process, which at times was somewhat difficult, Michael and his lovely wife Anya worked with us on an emotional level, in a way that was so supportive that we were able to get through the process with the minimal amount of stress. To put icing on the cake, Michael then found and negotiated the purchase of a beautiful home in Sonoma, where we now reside.

Michael's way with words, his positive, 'go for it attitude,' his sense of humor and his tireless commitment, puts him in a class of his own.  At the risk of losing significant commissions, Michael always put our needs ahead of his own personal needs and stayed on track to do what was best for us.  I have no hesitation in recommending this fine gentleman to those who ask for a recommendation. He has never let me down."

Dr. John Emery - Olympic Gold Medallist, Plastic Surgeon and Grape Grower, Sonoma County


"Michael is a trusted friend to whom doing the right thing comes first. He's thoughtful and always seeking input from those who he thinks can add to his decision making. I would recommend him without question to anyone seeking wine property investment advice."

Jim Proud - Executive Vice President, Heitman LLC, A Real Estate Investment Management Firm

"The contributions of Michael as member of the Board of Directors of the Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Alliance have been invaluable.  We tackle marketing our wine region, our wines and vineyards.  He brings in a very analytical thought process, great input and integrity.  He is clearly extremely business savvy and insightful. His calmness makes him someone you look up to for advice and someone to trust.  And I trust Michael, totally.

With the creation of Michael Crain Properties, Vineyard Advisors And Brokers after years in partnership serving wine country real estate with integrity, I am thrilled that Michael is going to be 100% of his destiny.  I am sure he will do very well.  I am all for giving him the great marks he deserves!"

Eva Bertran - President, Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance, Vice President, Marketing Gloria Ferrer Winery, Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards

"Michael Crain is a man of high feather, a contemporary warrior of great pluck and gentle spirit.  He is a trusted friend in thought, deed and action, someone who I'd loan my car keys and share my dreams with, rare in these times."

William Combs - Artist

"Michael has been a close friend of mine for a number of years.  What I have enjoyed about his friendship is that I know he has my back.  He has always been a good ear.  To be a good listener is a learned trait.  We have enjoyed a number of events, where it has been "just the boys." He always made me feel like one of them. 

I have also had the pleasure of working with Michael on the Board of SVVGA (Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance).  It's always a good experience and he's very committed to the community at large.  He is a good thinker and never steps over anything.  He has been a real asset to the SVVGA Board and the community.  I look forward to many more years of continued friendship."

Michael Muscardini - Muscardini Cellars, Board Director (past President) Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance


"I've worked with Michael for many years and would certainly recommend him to anyone looking to purchase or sell wine country property in the North Bay.  Michael utilizes his considerable experience and contacts within this niche industry, and delivers his services with a professional attention to detail that keeps his clients' interests firmly in focus.

Michael is able to communicate complex property entitlement, regulatory and local market knowledge to buyers and sellers in a way that enables them to thoroughly understand the unique characteristics surrounding agricultural properties.  From this base of deep knowledge, clients can make fully informed decisions."

Steve Herron - Senior Vice President and Manager, Exchange Bank, Sonoma County

"I have known Michael for many years and he is a high integrity, high trust and fun guy to do projects with.  I turn to him when I need the assessment of an expert to valuate property and vineyards. I trust his judgment. I trust him.  Our relationship is rooted in friendship.  It is easy for me to recommend him when it comes to assessing the value of land and the buying or selling of wine country agricultural property. "

Bill Pollock - President, Panamax/Furman & Proprietor of Murphy's Irish Pub, Sonoma


"I have known Michael Crain first personally and later professionally for approximately ten years.  Our professional involvement has included a number of complex real estate transactions in the Sonoma Valley. Michael has demonstrated a unique combination of skills, which permitted us to complete transactions in difficult market conditions. 

His thorough understanding of the wine and the wine agricultural industries allows him to understand value points, and the entitlement steps necessary to complete deals in today's environment.  Michael has decades of local knowledge and contacts, which he brings to his clients and their real estate requirements."

Robert Skinner - Investment Partner

"Michael Crain is a winner!  He is a thoughtful, sensitive, articulate friend.

He is an intelligent, honest person who values integrity--his own and in the people he deals with.  I have known Michael for about six years, and enjoy his sense of humor and the twinkle in his eye.  Simply put, I would trust him with the keys to my new car."

Ted Cutler - Retired Business Executive

"Michael was such an immense help to me.  I love the way he works and even though he has always been as a brother to me knowing him as I have for almost thirty years, I also had the good fortune to experience him in the role of being his client.  I asked him to sell my five-acre ranch in Redwood Valley (Mendocino County) about eight years ago.  I don't know what I would have done without him during that very trying period of my life.... 

I never had a concern about the sale of my property.  I trusted him implicitly.  He drove the distance from Sonoma to Redwood Valley time and time again, because he knew how important it was for me that he personally handle the sale. 

Michael lives his life as a man to whom living in integrity matters.  His sensitivity to my needs and his total, and complete professionalism brought great comfort to me.  He carried himself in such a way that even the buyer knew he could trust Michael.  Michael worked with me and with the buyer to make sure both of us could feel good.  I recommend Michael without question, without hesitation and with great assurance to anyone looking for a real estate broker of high integrity."

Giovanna Pierine - Artist, Landscapes and Portraits

"Michael Crain is one of the most enjoyable real estate people I have ever met.  Working with Michael on a potential sale taught me how he works not only in his knowledge of the properties and estates, but with a big smile as we traveled throughout the site visits.  My clients and I were drawn into his overview of the properties shown.  He is detailed and does his homework so there is no "surprise" question that he doesn't know the answer to.

Spending a week with Michael as we reviewed the wine producing regions of Napa and Sonoma Valleys, it became very clear to me that he loves what he does and he's good at it.  And that to me is what creates the confidence between agent and buyer. 

I am looking forward to working with him on some new projects and I know that we have partnered with the perfect connection with Michael."

Linda Viviani - President, Viviani, California Wine Country



“You go out to California a lot, Chris, why don’t you buy a winery" my professional colleagues jokingly asked me over dinner one evening at a Baltimore restaurant?   Without any experience in the winery business as I was in real estate development, I thought this was an intriguing idea and that it would just be fun to explore the opportunities.  Through the internet, I found Michael Crain, who responded immediately and was happy to spend time with a novice and my seemingly limitless number of questions. 

During our initial meetings, Michael listened carefully and provided an immense amount of practical information.  We then started to visit properties and meet with wine professionals.  During this early exploration Michael introduced me to a number of very important contacts, including two men who became my winery business partners and one who would eventually become my winemaker.  As I was not from the area, Michael also introduced me to local banking professionals.  All of these contacts proved essential to the success of my business start-up. 

When Michael brought my wife and me to see Russian River Vineyards it was love at first sight…but not without its challenges.  The property was charming and picturesque but had building and winery permit issues, among other business obstacles.  It was one of the region's oldest and most storied wineries in a renowned wine growing region known for producing great Pinot Noir wines.  Michael was instrumental in helping to resolve the issues and navigate through the obstacles, by explaining how winery permits worked, how the county worked, and by connecting me to the right people.   In the process of working through the real estate transaction and business launch, Michael became a trusted friend and today remains involved as the Russian River Vineyards business venture continues to grow.    

It’s hard to imagine a more engaged professional than Michael Crain.  He made this whole experience a pleasure and a success.  Michael was patient, stayed the course with me, did whatever was necessary to help me in the educational process to help me realize my dream of owning a winery in one of the premier grape growing regions, in the northern California wine country."

Chris O'Neill - Owner, Russian River Vineyards, Sonoma County