Sonoma Valley is far better, Napa is for the tourist. I live in this area and love it, housing is damn expensive though. The average home here is 350K, But property values rise so fast its easy to make a killin. Even when the economy took a shit this area never dropped, I wish it did so I could actually BUY a house. Beatufil scenery too, its all rolling hills green as can be.....most of the time.
You must have your averages wrong. The average home price is the Bay Area is far more. San Diego's median home price is running almost half-a-mil., so it must be more up there. The cheapest home you'll get down here (SD) is a small condo and you will end up paying $300K for it. Although, you are right about the property values. We see about 15-17% a year in equity. Of course, you could buy a mansion in North Carolina (where is that?) for a measily 175K.