How Hollywood's Top Real Estate Agents Lure Buyers With Wine

Wine room Perugia Way - Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of The Agency

Los Angeles developers are tapping into the city's somms to curate wine collections as the ultimate home amenity.

In Bel Air, a new architectural compound boasts city and golf course views, a huge infinity pool, a 2,100-square-foot master suite — and a wine cellar stocked with 500 bottles. Selected by Beverly Hills expert Ben Alexander, the collection is included in the home’s $38.5 million price tag, according to David Parnes, who shares the listing with James Harris.

A few miles down Sunset Boulevard, a 1,000-bottle collection is being assembled for a high-security, $43 million spec house; agent Jason Oppenheim enlisted Boutellier wine boutique and Tesse restaurant owner Jordan Ogron to oversee the collection that will include Chateau Lafite Rothschild 2005 as well as “D’Oliveiras Madeira dating back to when Teddy Roosevelt was in the White House,” says Oppenheim.  

Call these wine cellars a palette progression beyond the Veuve Clicquot walls, rainbow ordered candy rooms and wrap-around jellyfish viewing spaces that put the fish tank on steroids.

"Wine collections offer vastly more value than a Cristal chamber because of there intrinsic emotional connection they create with the new owner of their home,” says Aaron Kirman, who sold a $32 million Richard Landry-designed French chateaux style home in Beverly Park that included 2,500 bottles. Another recent Kirman buyer acquired a $20,000 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Grand Cru 1990 with the $85 million home.

“Our clients have often compared receiving a world-class wine collection to receiving a renowned piece of art as a home warming gift," says Kirman.

Napa winemaker Ryan Waugh has been tapped by Scott Gillen, builder of Malibu’s $85 million New Castle compound, to curate its 440-bottle collection.

“I’m not going to do a candy room — ever,” says Gillen, but “I didn’t want you to see the ocean when you first walked in. I wanted the view to unfold, so we put in a wine room, along with a cigar room to create a visual moment before the Pacific comes into view."

“Scott has a cellar full of incredibly thought-out, meaningful wines that you can barely even find at any retail store, let alone at Costco,” says the founder of Waugh Family Wines, who has already been tapped to work on Gillen’s next project, five-compound mega Malibu development The Case, that Gillen says will “focus on wine.”

Oppenheim, meanwhile, is taking the concept one step further: Last year he started his own label, O, from a Paso Robles winery. “The majority of my listings have cellars or wine rooms, so I thought, why not make a few thousand bottles for my own company?” says the agent. “The buyer likes getting a cellar full of wine. We love it because it markets our brokerage and later even buyers’ friends see it. It’s a win-win for everybody.”

A version of this story first appeared in the Sept. 20 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.