Pence Ranch is a working ranch located in western Santa Barbara County within the Sta. Rita Hills wine appellation. In the spirit of the self-sustaining quinta or rancho, our land provides sustenance for ourselves and our employees, just as it did for the original Spanish settlers and natives of Alta California.
Atypical of conventional agricultural practices, our ranch crew is comprised of salaried employees who work with us year-round. Together, we built the homes in which we, and several of them as well, live with our families. In fact, two children have been born on the ranch to one of our crew families. We built the barns that hold our farm equipment, hay and feed, as well as the roads to get there. We installed our vineyards, the water system that serves them and the drainage system that recharges the aquifer with runoff from the rain.
We tend the chickens that lay the eggs that feed our families each morning. We grow our own hay, which feeds our cattle, which eventually feeds us. We herd and collect the cows on the cutting horses we breed and train ourselves. We view this disciplined self-reliance as a virtue and a means of assuring quality in everything we do.
Our crew is like family, and we treat them as such. In exchange, they perform at the highest level, exercising utmost care and diligence in every aspect of our farming. Under the experienced and intelligent guidance of Daniel Garibay and Francisco Ramirez, they hand-farm each vine individually and mindfully. Those same hands tend the same vines year after year, their livelihoods and ultimate success inextricably linked with one another. Our wines are a testament to the skill and dedication of our crew, reflecting the great pride they take in what they do.
As a small, artisanal winery, Pence Ranch is only available for private tours and tastings by appointment. We are pleased to provide mailing list members a personal tour of the ranch and vineyards, as well as a tasting of our current releases. Request an appointment for a private tour and tasting of our vineyards and ranch.
One of the showpieces of the Pence Ranch is the beautifully landscaped and tranquil pond area. Sculpted from a natural canyon, this oasis sustains itself through bio-filtration pools that maintain its clear waters year round. There are several picnic areas around the perimeter, a cantilevered dock, and a large Pond House that can accommodate tastings, dining events and gatherings.
Built in 1907 at the base of Pence Ranch, the original homestead remains as an example of the classic architecture reflective of our region’s history and old California. In 2004, heavy rains and flooding almost destroyed the two homes, but Blair and his team have systematically restored them to their original appearance and intention. With careful attention to maintaining the period design and complimentary landscaping, the two homes have become sanctuaries and reminders of the bucolic nature of Santa Barbara County.
A passion of Blair’s for over fifteen years has been the raising and training of quarter horses. With ample land, Pence Ranch provides excellent facilities for this pursuit, and will include pastures, stables and Club facilities, a round pen, and a new show arena.
Both the Pond and the Equestrian areas are surrounded by hiking trails that have been created by the Pence Ranch crew for the enjoyment of our friends and family. The best way to appreciate the Ranch is to walk around and experience the sights, smells and sounds that otherwise remain unnoticed. There is also a wide variety of flora and fauna indigenous to the Central Coast that remains undisturbed and ready to be explored.
Reflecting the traditions of our ranch and Santa Barbara County, we raise black Angus cattle on the north half of the ranch (along with a few Longhorns just because we like their spunky personality). Raised organically, the majority of each year’s calf production are ultimately used to feed the familites of our employees. Similarly, we maintain a large population of egg laying chickens that provide healthy breakfasts for ourselves, our friends and our crew.
Since we acquired the property, our crew has farmed the undeveloped lands with seasonal grains to feed our horses and cattle. Given Sashi’s demonstrated baking abilities (and other remarkable culinary talents), we have now embarked upon organic Rye farming as well, with the objectives of serving the resulting breads and crackers with our wine tastings and as accompaniments to meals.
Because we are fascinated by the innumberable shades of green, the variety of their taste profiles and their demonstrated culinary and health benefits, we have embarked on planting over 750 olive trees. With 12 different species from 6 different countries, Pence Ranch will soon be producing our own estate olive oil. We are passionate about the culture surrounding food, wine and hospitality, and see these efforts as perfectly complementary to our estate winery program.