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Joe Montana puts Knights Valley home up for sale

Former 49er quarterback Joe Montana and his wife, Jennifer, have placed their Calistoga home on the market for $49 million. Set on more than 500 acres in Calistoga, the property includes a 9,700-square-foot Tuscan-styled home, equestrian center, a private pond, full-sized basketball court, skeet shooting range, caretaker’s residence, guesthouse, pool and spa, gym, Bocce ball court, and a producing olive farm.

Coldwell Banker Previews International
Published: Monday, November 9, 2009 at 3:01 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, November 9, 2009 at 3:01 p.m.

Joe Montana, the San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame quarterback, is selling his Knights Valley estate outside Calistoga. The asking price: $49 million, of course.

If it sells at full price — a not too subtle reminder of the team Montana led to four Super Bowl victories — it would become the highest amount ever paid for a home in Sonoma County.

So what does $49 million buy?

The estate comes with a 9,700-square-foot Tuscan-style main residence, a spacious equestrian center, full-sized basketball court, skeet shooting range, gym, pool and spa.

The 500-acre property, dubbed Villa Montana, also features two creeks that run year round, a private pond, a guesthouse and a caretaker’s residence.

Montana moved to the property with his wife Jennifer and their four children in 2003. The family left Sonoma County several years ago and now resides in Southern California, partly so that a son could play high school football for the private Oaks Christian School in Westlake Village.

“We have a lot of great memories here with our friends and family,” Joe Montana said Monday in a statement about the villa. “It’s a home made for entertaining.”

A sale even in the ballpark of the asking $49 million price would be a record for the county. The most expensive home sales recorded on the county’s Multiple Listing Service were two properties that went for $15 million each in 2001, according to Rick Laws of Coldwell Banker in Santa Rosa.

Such a sale even would exceed the proposed $36 million price for the 5,600-acre Jenner Headlands, a record amount for an acquisition to conserve land for public benefit.

Nonetheless, those representing the Montanas called the $49 million “a fitting price for a property owned by the former 49er.”

“The value is there,” said Leeza Hoyt a spokeswoman for the listing agents, Coldwell Banker Previews International and Pacific Union/Christie’s Great Estates.

The main residence features three bedrooms, three and a half baths, great room and dining room, breakfast room, media room, office, and a climate-controlled wine cellar and tasting room. An outdoor viewing tower offers panoramas of Mount Saint Helena and Knights Valley.

Jennifer Montana is credited with the artistic vision behind the home, which includes imported marble floors and carved Baroque wood portals. An outdoor courtyard features hand-painted frescos, antique statues and fountains.

“It’s our sanctuary,” Jennifer Montana said of the estate in a 2005 Press Democrat interview.

Recent photos on the Wall Street Journal’s Web site show a fireplace in the loggia over which hangs the Montana family’s own crest, painted by a French artist, and a marble bathtub so heavy it was set in place by crane.

But it doesn’t come cheap.

If you could put 20 percent down, and get a 6 percent, 30-year fixed-rate mortgage for the balance of $39.2 million, your monthly payment would come to $235,023.81.

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