$59 million Tahoe estate where part of ‘Bonanza’ was filmed hits market

A look inside the massive East Shore estate.

A look inside the massive East Shore estate.

ZEPHYR COVE, Nev. — Palatial homes and mountain style architecture are common along Lake Tahoe’s shoreline. Equestrian properties with large land tracts are rare.

First-class equestrian facilities are just one feature that makes the Sierra Sunset property listing an unrivaled piece of real estate. A 378-foot stretch of sandy beach and pier with boat hoist, 13-acre irrigated meadow for horses, and a 16,703-square-foot main house make it worth every penny of the $59 million price tag.

Located in Zephyr Cove, Sierra Sunset sits on 31 acres nestled against the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe. Owned by telecom executive George Schmitt and wife Clare, the property has been a proven haven for prized racehorses. The barn houses 15 heated stalls, an office, grooming area and an adjacent 1,348-square-foot caretaker’s quarters.

The main residence boasts commercial grade construction completed by Q&D builders in 2004, with more than 400 tons of Montana stone gracing the exterior. It features eight bedroom suites. most with fireplaces and lakeside terraces, grand foyer, great room, gourmet kitchen with butler’s pantry, formal dining room, wine room with seating, craft room, game room, home theatre, rear staircase and four-car heated garage. A two bedroom guest home with lower garage is set just outside the main house gates.

The property’s meadow is recognizable to those who followed the hit series “Bonanza,” NBC’s longest running Western that was filmed along Tahoe’s shores and aired between 1959-1973. The opening scene was filmed in the meadow at this beautiful property, with views of Lake Tahoe in the background.

“The quality and detail of this spectacular custom home sets it apart from other lakefront estates,” said co-listing agent Lexi Cerretti, of Sotheby’s International Realty. “Rarely do we find recent construction of this scale, combined with coveted lake front amenities of a long sandy beach and pier.”

“What’s special about the private location is the proximity to world class skiing, dining and entertainment just minutes from the front gate,” added Dan Spano, co-listing agent for the estate. “Both South Lake Tahoe and Minden Airports are easily accessible for private jets, and the Nevada address is coveted for tax reasons.”

While the sought-after location, architecture, exquisite setting and nearby recreational amenities make Sierra Sunset a treasure on its own, it’s the equestrian facilities that set this lakefront estate apart from all other Lake Tahoe properties.   

  The Schmitts are extremely proud of the thoroughbreds raised on the property. Their prize-winning horses include Sierra Sweetie (two-year-old Filly of the Year in California), Cinderella Liberty (two-year-old Filly of the Year in Washington), and the namesake Sierra Sunset, a leading Sophomore Sire in the California and Kentucky Derby qualifiers.

According to the current owners, the estate’s buyer will be provided with the opportunity to submit a name to be considered for the next yearling raised on the property that is in line to become a bonafide racehorse, within reason of Jockey Club approval.

This article was submitted on behalf of Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty, with eight office locations throughout Lake Tahoe and Truckee: Incline Village, South Lake Tahoe, Squaw Valley, Stateline/Village at Heavenly, Tahoe City Gallery, Tahoe Donner, Downtown Truckee and Tahoe City Lakeside. Visit sierrasothebysrealty.com to learn more.


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