Zazzle Shop

Screen printing

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Where Joe Montana Kicks Back and calls Home!

The ex-quarterback's Sonoma retreat goes on the market for $49 million


Calistoga, Calif.

(See Corrections & Amplifications item below.)

Standing in the upstairs living room on a brisk October morning, Jennifer Montana described her husband, football great Joe Montana, as a simple guy. "He needed a beer tap, a pretty good-sized television screen and a barbecue area," she said.

Simple wouldn't be the first word that comes to mind in describing the couple's retreat, which extends into both Napa and Sonoma counties. Set on 500 acres on a hilly, forested expanse with year-round creeks and uninterrupted views, the couple's 9,700-square-foot Tuscan villa-style house with a tower boasts the beer tap and many hidden flat-screen televisions, but what commands attention are the baronial flourishes and details, many of them imported from Europe.

Joe Montana's California Retreat

The former football star and his wife spent about a decade creating a family retreat on 500 acres in Calistoga, Calif. The couple is now trying to sell the property for $49 million.

Kathrin Miller for The Wall Street Journal

The 22-foot tall ceiling in the great room, a large space decorated with a hanging tapestry and oversized velvet furniture, is encased in wood. In the loggia nearby is an imposing fireplace; above is the Montana family crest, painted by an artist from the south of France. A pair of tall iron gates from the 16th century guard the gallery; a heavy marble bathtub needed to be moved by crane. "The fish are local," joked Mr. Montana, now 52 and silver-haired, nodding to a nearby pond.

Former NFL defensive back and longtime friend Ronnie Lott said his former teammate was so drawn to the lifestyle of Italy that he considered moving there, but "after building this home, he didn't have to."

In all, the Montanas devoted about a decade to locating and building their family retreat, almost as much time as Mr. Montana spent at the San Francisco 49ers, the team that made him famous. Now the couple, who moved more than 400 miles south to Thousands Oaks, Calif. to be closer to their two football-playing sons, have decided to sell their property. The asking price: $49 million. Coldwell Banker Previews International and Pacific Union, an affiliate of Christie's Great Estates, have the listing.

Kathrin Miller for The Wall Street Journal

The Montanas traveled to Italy to inspect the cutting of the kitchen counters.

It's an ambitious price tag, particularly in the sagging luxury market. "It's an unheard-of price, but it must be an unheard-of property," says Steve Gregory with Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley, adding that there haven't been many high-end sales. Other brokers say a $35 million Sonoma home recently went into contract.

Steve Bono, the former NFL quarterback who played with Mr. Montana on the 49ers and the Chiefs, says Mr. Montana enjoyed the privacy afforded by the home. "On the field, there were only 11 guys that could get at him. In public, there's many more than 11 who could get at him. I think that's why he felt most comfortable there," he says.

Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, Mr. Montana played football at Notre Dame and went on to lead the 49ers to four Super Bowl wins. In 1984, he met Jennifer on the set of a Schick commercial. She became his wife; the couple has four children.

As Mr. Montana neared retirement, the Montanas began searching for their retreat. They declined to say how much the property cost; records are unclear.

It was Ms. Montana, the more outspoken of the pair, who drove many of the decisions behind the home's construction and decor, a process that spanned three years. Parts of the home were built around shopping expeditions—the couple would buy items in Europe and phone in measurements to the builders.

Kathrin Miller for The Wall Street Journal

Joe Montana and his pool

Since retiring, Mr. Montana has been attending his sons' school football practices, cooking prime rib in a pizza oven and visiting French flea markets and Italian villas with his wife. A wine and food enthusiast, he made an unsuccessful bid to buy Sonoma winery Williams Selyem and started collaborating with Beringer on a special blend.

His many hobbies are reflected outside, where a 45-foot-deep pond stocked with bass is framed by a sliver of man-made, white-sand beach. An equestrian stable has an indoor arena and 17 horse stalls, each stall bearing its own heat lamp, fan and video camera. (Mr. Montana gave up horses due to his busy schedule.) Riding trails crisscross the property, and there's also a swimming pool, basketball court and skeet-shooting range.

Mementos of Mr. Montana's football days are in the gym, a separate building whose walls are plastered with framed photos and Sports Illustrated covers. Three Super Bowl MVP trophies overlook the room from a shelf that also holds a large flat-screen TV.

He'll be taking other souvenirs with him. "My shoulder's been going numb along with a little bit of the side of my face," said Mr. Montana, who recently underwent several back surgeries.

Corrections & Amplifications:

The California estate that retired quarterback Joe Montana has listed for $49 million extends into both Napa and Sonoma counties. An earlier version of this article incorrectly implied that the property was located solely in Sonoma.

Write to Juliet Chung at


Anonymous January 22, 2013 at 1:28 AM  

If yоu haρpen tο influence a ѕuppliег they are willing tο lenders regular
іnstallments, pawn retail οutlet with onе of your
curгent belоngings Dеbt to Inсome Ratio: A financer would like tо sеe peгsοnаl debt to
геνenuе гatio of а busіness tо not exceed 40%
Also visit my page : Www.Garynorris.Org

Anonymous January 22, 2013 at 2:20 AM  

lοω сrеdit scorе instant
lending pгoducts are pгovіde tο people to meet their short-teгm neеds It iѕ not just a
subјect fοr finding the ideаl souгcе
of cаpital, but onе because qualifу for a conventional mоrtgage
Here is my site payday loans

Anonymous May 9, 2013 at 9:11 PM  

Hello to all, how is all, I think every one
is getting more from this site, and your views are pleasant in favor of new viewers.

my homepage - workouts for vertical jump

Anonymous May 11, 2013 at 9:02 AM  

What's up mates, pleasant piece of writing and nice urging commented at this place, I am truly enjoying by these.

Check out my page :: how to dunk a basketball

Anonymous May 14, 2013 at 9:58 AM  

My brother suggested I would possibly like this blog.
He was totally right. This post truly made my day.
You can not believe just how much time I had spent for this information!
Thank you!

Have a look at my web-site exercises to jump higher exercises to improve vertical exercises to improve vertical jump exercises to improve vertical leap exercises to increase vertical exercises to increase vertical jump exercises to increase vertical leap exercises for vertical exercises for vertical jump exercises for vertical leap workouts To jump higher workouts to improve vertical workouts to improve vertical jump workouts to improve vertical leap workouts to increase vertical workouts to increase vertical jump workouts to increase vertical leap workouts for vertical workouts for vertical jump workouts for vertical leap vertical jump exercises vertical Leap exercises vertical jump Workouts vertical leap workouts

Anonymous May 21, 2013 at 1:47 PM  

It is actually a great and helpful piece of info.
I'm glad that you simply shared this helpful info with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

My web page; workouts to jump higher

Anonymous May 28, 2013 at 3:08 PM  

Do you have a spam issue on this website; I also am
a blogger, and I was wanting to know your situation; we
have developed some nice methods and we are looking to exchange methods with other folks, please shoot me an email if interested.

my web page: Cheap Jerseys

Anonymous June 4, 2013 at 6:01 AM  

Hi there, its pleasant article about media print, we all be familiar with media is a great source of information.

My blog post; Continued

Anonymous June 6, 2013 at 2:03 PM  

Good post however I was wanting to know if you could write
a litte more on this subject? I'd be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Appreciate it!

Feel free to surf to my site - web site

Anonymous June 8, 2013 at 10:09 PM  

I am actually happy to read this blog posts which consists of
lots of valuable facts, thanks for providing these kinds of data.

Visit my web blog ... Nike Air Max

Anonymous June 12, 2013 at 6:16 PM  

Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular article! It is the little changes which will
make the most important changes. Thanks for sharing!

My site :: Nike Free Run

Anonymous June 13, 2013 at 6:30 PM  

Pretty section of content. I simply stumbled upon your
site and in accession capital to assert that I acquire in fact enjoyed account your weblog posts.
Any way I will be subscribing in your feeds and even I fulfillment you get
right of entry to persistently fast.

Feel free to surf to my web blog ... Michael Kors Outlet

Anonymous June 14, 2013 at 5:32 AM  

Wonderful work! That is the type of info that
are meant to be shared around the net. Disgrace on Google
for not positioning this put up upper! Come on over and consult
with my site . Thank you =)

Also visit my web-site ... Sac A Main Louis Vuitton

Anonymous June 14, 2013 at 7:35 AM  

whoah this blog is magnificent i love reading your
posts. Stay up the good work! You already know, a lot of people are looking round for this
info, you can help them greatly.

Check out my web site ... Chaussures Foot ::

Anonymous June 14, 2013 at 10:45 AM  

Hi there, I found your website by way of Google even as searching for a similar subject,
your web site got here up, it appears to be like great.

I've bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.
Hello there, just was alert to your weblog through Google, and located that it is truly informative. I'm going to be careful for brussels.

I'll appreciate in the event you proceed this in future. Numerous people will probably be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

Review my page: Borse Gucci