Iconic Raford Inn, pinot noir vineyards up for sale in Healdsburg

Visitors to The Raford Inn in Healdsburg know the six-room hotel for its stunning views, homemade breakfast and wine experiences that its two owners have cultivated for nearly 19 years.

But owner Rita Wells is ready to retire and has put the bed-and-breakfast up for sale.

Wells and her late husband, Dane Pitcher, purchased the property in 2004. She was working as a dental hygienist at the time, and Pitcher worked with the city of Santa Rosa.

The two stayed in B&Bs when they traveled the East Coast — and the two imagined it as a fun job in their retirement.

For almost two decades, Wells cooked breakfast for guests every morning, with fruits, vegetables and herbs from the backyard garden. Pitcher would take guests on tours of his hobby vineyard and demonstrate the wine-making process.

He produced his own wine on the property with grapes from his vineyard. Past reporting from Sonoma Magazine said Pitcher would produce a barrel or two of pinot noir a year, or up to 576 bottles per vintage.

Because it wasn’t a commercial vineyard, Pitcher couldn’t sell the wine or give the wine to guests paying to stay at the inn, so he would give guests a bottle after checkout.

“A lot of people remember that and talk about it,” Wells said. “Over the years we’ve made a lot of friends and that’s the fun part.”

Wells decided to sell the inn after Pitcher died in October 2022. She has been running the inn with four staff members, but it came time to sell the inn and officially retire.

“One of the last things (Dane) told me was don’t sell the inn, but it’s too much work for one person,” Wells said.

The designated historic landmark sits on 4.2 acres of land in Healdsburg, with the hobby vineyard included in the listing. The home was built in 1880 and has six themed rooms with a wraparound porch and Queen Anne-style accents still present throughout the building’s architecture.

At the bottom of a staircase in the front yard rests Pitcher’s hobby vineyard — still growing today.

The property is being sold for $3.499 million, according to listing agent Ann Amtower.

“It’s really a sweet, iconic place,” Amtower said. “The views are just stunning and it’s a sweet property.”

Guests come from around the world to stay at the inn, Wells said, with many returning for another visit. In fact, she said, they’ve had the same guests stay 28 different times.

As guests came and went, forging their own memories, Wells did the same with her late husband. But now, she’s ready to let new owners create their own cherished moments.

“(Dane) and I were married for 30 years and I miss him a lot but I just can’t do it without him,” Wells said.

You can reach Staff Writer Sara Edwards at 707-521-5487 or sara.edwards@pressdemocrat. com. On Twitter @sedwards380.

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