OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- One-hundred-and-twenty-year-old grapevines may be ripped up in Oakley to make way for more housing and commercial development.
Six generations have enjoyed farming there but the two brothers who own the land are reluctantly selling. Joe and Clementina Romiti arrived in Oakley from Italy in 1911 and promptly bought land. Frank Romiti says it was a 10-acre parcel with two barns and a house and they purchased it for $10 in gold.
Then in 1930, they bought another 10 acre parcel with 120-year-old vines for just $4,000. Six generations have lived off the land ever since.
The Zinfandel grapes are still bought up by winemakers. There's a cell tower disguised as a water tower and the house he grew up in.
Frank Romiti says, "It's not country anymore and I miss that."
The vineyard is surrounded by tracts of homes, commercial and retail. The commute traffic starts early and runs late. A farm doesn't seem to fit in.
Frank Romiti says, "At this point, the fourth generation is not interested in farming anymore and we're getting surrounded by housing so we decided to put it up for sale."
Bernard Romiti added, "I can't work the ranch no more and it's getting harder for him. We think the best thing to do is to sell."
Their realtor, Quintella Griffin, says, "It's been in his family for like 90 years. That's history but he's told me he's ready to move on."
The asking price is $5 million. So far, it looks like the grapes are going to go, with buyers talking about residential and retail or expanding the adjacent mobile home park or even turning this into a solar farm.
The Romitis say all good things must come to an end. Not a bad real estate investment -- $4,000 now worth $5 million.