Holman Ranch is a perfect blend of the past and the present in the relaxing, quaint Carmel Valley. Here you will find a wonderful destination for both wine and events. As a winery, Holman Ranch produces a fine range of estate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir along with a Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc. As a wedding location, brides and grooms will be excited about the oasis in the mountains surrounded by vineyards and history. As an event center, businesses will appreciate the historical hacienda and bungalows to serve as a great team building experience.
Let’s start with the winery. Holman Ranch is on a 600 acre parcel and has 21 acres of sustainable grown vineyards, mostly Pinot Noir and a few acres in Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. The wine cave down behind the hacienda was finished in 2012. Here the winemaker Nick Elliott (who also serves as the Guest Services Manager) manages production of up to 4000 cases of wine. The 3500 square foot cave houses the barrels used to age the wine along with the full production process.
The Tasting Room is located in the Carmel Valley village at 19 E. Carmel Valley Road. Here you will often find Nick himself serving his wines. Carmel Valley is a quaint relaxing village 13 miles or about 20 minutes from Carmel. There are many winery tasting rooms in the village along with antique shops, restaurants, bed and breakfast establishments and more.
The 2013 .5o Brix Estate Off-dry Pinot Gris has a modest sweetness with a low alcohol level and would pair wonderfully with a light meal. The 2011 Chardonnay has very nice acidity and a medium body. You will enjoy the green apple flavors with a touch of cinnamon and other spices. This style of Chardonnay is a great wine to pair with food. The 2012 Virgin Chardonnay is a stainless steel fermented which delivers some of the true flavors of Chardonnay with nice minerality and floral quality.
Pinot Noir is the primary wine made at Holman Ranch. The 2012 Kelly’s Press Pinot Noir is a light fruity wine with a touch of earthiness on the palate. It includes flavors of red cherry, red apple and spice. The 2011 Heather’s Hill Pinot Noir is a richer wine with intense fruit flavors of black cherry, boysenberry, raspberry and more.
Finish up with a taste of the 2013 Sweet Love, a late harvest Sauvignon Blanc that has intense fruit flavors and excellent acidity that blends well with the soft sweetness of the wine.
Holman Ranch also produces a nice range of olive oils from the estate olive grove. They produce Tuscan style oils from the six olive varietals grown on the ranch. The mill is also certified organic.
Holman Ranch is also a magical place for weddings where couples can exchange their vows on a beautiful lawn overlooking the vineyards. After the wedding you and your guests can stroll among the gardens, explore the historic estate and then enjoy the wedding dinner in the carriage house. The location and views will provide exciting memories for years to come. The ten bungalows provide a place for visiting family to spend the night as everyone prepares for the wedding. And for those not involved in the preparation, the hacienda provides a game room and bar for entertainment.
For group meetings, corporate events and celebrations, Holman Ranch provides all of the space and services needed. They only host one event at a time so all of the facilities are open to the attendees, including the conference room, swimming pool, fitness center, fully equipped kitchen, excellent game room and the bungalows for overnight stays. And the Holman Ranch staff is there to make sure that your event is a success.
Holman Ranch has a history that stretches back to the period of time when California was still part of Mexico when Don Jose Manuel Borondo was granted the 6,625 acre Los Laureles Rancho that includes the area that is now Holman Ranch. In 1882 the Rancho was acquired by the Pacific Improvements Company.
A San Francisco businessman, Gordon Armsby, was looking for a rich farmland to enjoy the relaxing pace of Carmel Valley. In 1928 he purchased 600 acres of the Los Laureles Rancho to form what would become Holman Ranch. Armsby hired the Del Monte Hotel designer, Clarence Tantau to design his estate for this new property. The classic Spanish-style hacienda is made with impressive stone walls from local Carmel stone and a handmade Mexican terracotta roof. It was nicknamed “Casa Escondida” or “Hidden House” and was an exclusive hideaway for many Hollywood celebrities of the time.
In the 1940s Armsby faced financial troubles and sold his estate to Clarence Holman, the oldest son of the Holman’s Department Store in Pacific Grove. Clarence transformed the estate from a gentleman’s retreat into the Holman’s Guest Ranch. He grazed prize white-faced Hereford cattle and participate in local cattle drives to Salinas. The ranch was home to the Carmel Valley Horseman’s Association rodeos and events. He built the guest bungalows and stables as well as one of the first pools in Carmel Valley.
Holman Ranch became the center of social life in Carmel Valley and hosted many of the Hollywood celebrities including Clark Gable, Vincent Price, Joan Crawford, Marlon Brando and more.
Clarence died in 1962 and his widow Vivian kept the ranch going with many social and community events and activities until her death in 1981. In 1989 Dorothy McEwen purchased the property and continued with many of the loved traditions of ranch life and hospitality. She refurbished the bungalows and founded The Stables, planted vineyards and had future plans for the property. She continued Vivian Holman’s style of old-fashion hospitality until her death in 2005.
The next and current owners, Thomas and Jarman Lowder fell in love with the Ranch and purchased it in 2006 fulfilling his lifelong dream to make estate grown wine and olive oil. The finished restoration of the property to its original grandeur while adding in modern conveniences such as air conditioning, Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, more electricity throughout the estate and an integrated sound system. Their daughter Hunter and her husband Eric runs all of the property’s special events and the winery.
For more information: Holman Ranch