Or­ga­nized Trail Rides

Trail Rider - - FRONT PAGE - Au­drey Pavia, an award-win­ning free­lance writer based in Norco, Cal­i­for­nia, is a com­pet­i­tive trail rider and mem­ber of the North Amer­i­can Trail Ride Con­fer­ence. She’s the author of Trail Rid­ing: A Com­plete Guide (How­ell Book House im­print of Wi­ley; www.h

BY AU­DREY PAVIA Hol­man Ranch Vine­yards & Win­ery, si­t­u­ated in Carmel, Cal­i­for­nia, pro­vides miles of trails to ex­plore on horse­back while bask­ing in the es­tate win­ery ex­pe­ri­ence.

CCarmel Val­ley, Cal­i­for­nia, is one of the most scenic and beau­ti­ful places to ride in the Golden State. Rolling hills bathed in sun­shine and dot­ted with live oaks set the back­drop for winer­ies and lux­ury es­tates. Rid­ing trails abound in the val­ley, mak­ing it one of the most amaz­ing places in Cal­i­for­nia to en­joy with your horse.

One way to ex­pe­ri­ence this part of Cen­tral Cal­i­for­nia with your horse in tow is by vis­it­ing Hol­man Ranch, an es­tate win­ery oc­cu­py­ing 400 acres in the heart of Carmel Val­ley.

Com­plete with vine­yards, a win­ery, guest cot­tages, and a re­mod­eled equestrian fa­cil­ity, Hol­man Ranch pro­vides miles of trails you can ex­plore on horse­back while bask­ing in the es­tate win­ery ex­pe­ri­ence.

(For three more Cen­tral Coast rid­ing des­ti­na­tions, see “Ex­plore the Coast” on page 44.)

Hol­man His­tory

The fam­ily-owned Hol­man Ranch was once part of the Los Lau­re­les Rancho land grant. Awarded by the Mex­i­can gov­ern­ment in the 1700s to one of the first ranch­ers in the Carmel Val­ley, Don Jose Manuel Boronda, the orig­i­nal land grant con­sisted of 6,625 acres and in­cludes what’s now Hol­man Ranch.

For­merly a cat­tle ranch, the prop­erty was pur­chased by busi­ness­man Gor­don Armsy in the 1920s, who turned the ranch into an ex­clu­sive hide­away for Hollywood celebri­ties, in­clud­ing Char­lie Chap­lin and Theda Bara.

Much of the allure was in the clas­sic Span­ish-style ha­cienda Armsy built on the grounds, which fea­tured dra­matic walls built with stone from Carmel Val­ley. The ha­cienda also in­cluded hand­made Mex­i­can ter­ra­cotta roofing and hard-carded oak­beamed ceil­ings.

Armsy sold the es­tate to the Hol­man fam­ily in the 1940s. The Hol­mans turned it into a guest ranch. It then went from a gen­tle­men’s re­treat to a small her­itage cat­tle ranch, with the only rodeo arena in the com­mu­nity.

Dur­ing this time, the ranch’s guest cot­tages, sta­bles, and swim­ming pool were added. The ranch even­tu­ally be­came the cen­ter of so­cial life in Carmel Val­ley, host­ing par­ties at­tended by the likes of Clark Gable, Vin­cent Price, Joan Craw­ford, and Mar­lon Brando. Com­plete with vine­yards, a win­ery, guest cot­tages, and a re­mod­eled equestrian fa­cil­ity, Hol­man Ranch pro­vides miles of trails you can ex­plore on horse­back while bask­ing in the es­tate win­ery ex­pe­ri­ence.

The build­ings fell into dis­re­pair over the years, but in the late 1980s, the ha­cienda was re­stored by Dorothy McEwen, a new owner who wanted to res­cue the his­toric land­mark. She built the cur­rent sta­bles and planted vine­yards, and be­gan the plans to es­tab­lish Hol­man Ranch as a win­ery.

Some 20 years later, Thomas and Jar­man Low­der pur­chased the prop­erty and com­pletely re­fur­bished it, bring­ing it back to its orig­i­nal state. Their daugh­ter Hunter Low­der cur­rently man­ages the prop­erty as a guest ranch and win­ery.

Rid­ing at Hol­man

A visit to the Hol­man Ranch with your horse means board­ing overnight at the Sta­bles at Hol­man Ranch.

The fa­cil­ity, which per­ma­nently hosts nearly 100 board­ers, also in­cludes guest

stalls for vis­it­ing horses and fa­cil­i­ties for clin­ics. Jump­ing, dres­sage, and Western are­nas are part of the ameni­ties, along with a 200-stall show barn and 50 pipe cor­rals.

Miles of pri­vate trails wind through the 400-acre Hol­man Ranch prop­erty, and fea­ture shady treks and moun­tain vis­tas.

Views of the vine­yards and forests of live oaks make the ranch a spe­cial place to ride. The land is also home to a va­ri­ety of Cal­i­for­nia wildlife and birds, and is off lim­its to moun­tain bikes, mak­ing it a peace­ful place to ride.

Af­ter a long day on the trail, the Hol­man Ranch guest cot­tages are a great place to un­wind. These cot­tages are nes­tled among large oak trees and a flow­er­ing gar­den. Each room is adorned in ranch dé­cor and graced by a movie poster fea­tur­ing one of the stars who vis­ited the ranch dur­ing its Hollywood hey­day.

The Vine­yards

One of the high­lights of be­ing at Hol­man Ranch is tour­ing the vine­yards. All the wine pro­duced un­der the Hol­man Ranch label is made from grapes grown on the prop­erty. Twenty acres of the ranch is de­voted to or­ganic vine­yards, which are home to pinot noir, chardon­nay, and pinot gris grapes.

Only 3,500 cases are pro­duced each sea­son, with the wine sold di­rectly to con­sumers through the Hol­man Ranch wine club, poured in restau­rants, and served at Hol­man Ranch hosted events.

The winemaking process at Hol­man Ranch in­cludes a self-suf­fi­cient wine cave with 100-per­cent French oak bar­rels. The en­tire win­ery is self-sus­tain­ing, and re­lies sig­nif­i­cantly on the unique weather of the Carmel Val­ley. The lo­cal hills pro­vide a higher el­e­va­tion, pro­vid­ing a per­fect en­vi­ron­ment for grow­ing qual­ity grapes.

The Hol­man Ranch wine-tast­ing room is lo­cated down the road from the ranch in the quaint town of Carmel Val­ley. Here, you can taste the ranch’s va­ri­etals, along with Hol­man Ranch olive oil, also grown on the prop­erty.

Hol­man Wines

Carmel Val­ley is fa­mous for its wines, born of the ideal in­land Cal­i­for­nia ter­rain and cli­mate. Hol­man Ranch takes com­plete ad­van­tage of what this part of the state has

to of­fer when it comes to grow­ing grapes, ev­i­denced by its high-qual­ity va­ri­etals.

Pro­duced on 20 acres of or­ganic vine­yards, where lady­bugs, hawks, and owls keep pests at bay, Hol­man Ranch grapes are the prod­uct of the warm in­land val­ley cou­pled with the cool­ing ma­rine layer from the ocean, 12 miles away.

Pinot noir and chardon­nay grapes are the Hol­man Ranch spe­cialty, pro­duc­ing Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardon­nay, Sau­vi­gnon Blanc, and Rose of Pinot Noir wines. Hol­man Ranch is an es­tate win­ery, mean­ing all of the wines are pro­duced on the prop­erty, from start to fin­ish.

The grapes are grown Euro­pean style, mean­ing they’re picked un­der-ripe for more acid, and less sugar and al­co­hol than most Amer­i­can-grown grapes. Only the grapes grown on the Hol­man Ranch prop­erty are used for the Hol­man Ranch label.

In 2012, an un­der­ground win­ery was built on the ranch to process the grapes pro­duced in the vine­yards. Called The Caves, this 3,000-square-foot wine cel­lar is lo­cated com­pletely un­der­ground to take ad­van­tage of nat­u­ral cool­ing and hu­mid­ity fea­tures.

Main­tained at a con­stant tem­per­a­ture of 58 de­grees Fahren­heit, the cel­lar houses four 750-gal­lon tanks, four 1,200-gal­lon tanks, and four open-top tanks that can each hold two tons of wine.

All the win­ery op­er­a­tions take place in the fa­cil­ity, in­clud­ing destem­ming, press- ing, fer­ment­ing, and aging. Bot­tling is done di­rectly out­side the build­ing us­ing a mo­bile bot­tling line.

The el­e­gance of the Hol­man Ranch es­tate is ev­i­dent in its wines, which are full-bod­ied, light and fruity, or sub­tle or crisp, de­pend­ing on the va­ri­etal.

Be­sides be­ing served at the ranch’s Carmel Val­ley wine-tast­ing room, the wine is avail­able through the Hol­man Es­tate and Grand Es­tate Wine Clubs. (For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www.hol­man­ranch.com/ wineclub.)

Whether you’re rid­ing the pris­tine trails of Hol­man Ranch on your horse or loung­ing on the front porch of a guest cot­tage, the peace­ful seren­ity of Carmel Val­ley will leave you feeling like you’ve dis­cov­ered par­adise. You’ll want to come back again and stay even longer just to ab­sorb all the tran­quil­ity Hol­man Ranch has to of­fer. TTR

AU­DREY PAVIA PHOTO

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF HOL­MAN RANCH

One of the high­lights of be­ing at Hol­man Ranch is tour­ing the vine­yards. All the wine pro­duced un­der the Hol­man Ranch label is made from grapes grown on the prop­erty.

AU­DREY PAVIA PHOTO

Miles of pri­vate trails wind through the 400acre Hol­man Ranch prop­erty. Trails fea­ture shady treks, views of the vine­yards, and forests of live oaks.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF HOL­MAN RANCH

A visit to the Hol­man Ranch with your horse means board­ing overnight at the Sta­bles at Hol­man Ranch. The fa­cil­ity, which per­ma­nently hosts nearly 100 board­ers, also in­cludes guest stalls.

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