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Holman Ranch is a historical destination in Carmel Valley

10 facts about Holman Ranch history

At Holman Ranch, we say it’s a place “where the past is always present.” That’s because our rich and storied past paves the way for our fun and fruitful present. Indeed, the winery, tasting room, and grand wedding celebrations we know today would not be possible if not for the visionaries of decades or even centuries earlier. 

So what is the story of Holman Ranch? 

Here are 10 interesting facts to help you learn about our history: 

Fact #1: Carmel Valley derives its name from Friar Sebastian Vizcaino, who was the first European to visit the region. In 1602, when he was commissioned to map the local coastal area, he named the local river Rio Carmelo. 

Fact #2: Crop farming was introduced to the Esselen people of Carmel Valley in the 1700s by some of the first Spanish visitors to the area. Previously, the indigenous people relied on foraging, fishing, and hunting for sustenance. 

Fact #3: Holman Ranch’s story began when California was still part of Mexico. Mexico’s independence from Spain paved the way for ranchers to own land. 

Fact #4: The land on which Holman Ranch now sits once belonged to Don Jose Manuel Boronda, one of the first ranchers in Carmel Valley. The Boronda name is well-known throughout Monterey County. 

Fact #5: In 1928, a hacienda and guest ranch were built on the property by Gordon Armsby, a businessman from San Francisco who acquired the land. 

Fact #6: It wasn’t until the 1940’s that what we now know as Holman Ranch came into existence when Clarence Holman purchased the property. The Holmans, of Holman’s Department store, were a well-known family in the area. 

Fact #7: Swimming pools are quintessentially Californian. According to local folklore, the very first in-ground pool in Carmel Valley was built at, you guessed it, Holman Ranch. Many of the guests who book a stay at Holman Ranch still enjoy the pool to this day. 

Fact #8: Our annual Fiesta de los Amigos celebration has been a part of Holman Ranch history for as long as we can remember (and continues to this day), but Vivian Holman, wife to Clarence, is credited with continuing the anniversary of the ranch until her death in 1981. She also took on the work of operating the dude and working ranch on her own.

Fact #9: Dorothy McEwan took on the refurbishment of the Holman Ranch hacienda. During this time, Holman Ranch was primarily used as an events space for area celebrations

Fact #10: Holman Ranch’s historical guest registry is quite impressive. Stars from Hollywood’s Golden Age, from Charlie Chaplin to Marlon Brando, regularly visited the property from the 1920s through the 1960s. Visitors to Holman Ranch may even see some of the historical photographs taken at the property. 

An eye for the future

When the Lowder family purchased the Holman Ranch in 2006, they ushered in a new era for the estate and winery. While the Tavern, Tasting Room and spectacular events are now synonymous with the Holman Ranch name, the Lowders continue to honor the history of the area while keeping a close eye on the future.  

From their first vintage in 2009 to the award-winning wines produced today on the property, Holman Ranch inspires, delights, and influences wine lovers and connoisseurs from around the world. It is also featured in many publications for the jaw-droppingly beautiful weddings created on site. 

As evidenced by its history, the Holman Ranch property is something special. On behalf of the Lowder family and our wonderful staff, we encourage you to plan a visit to our Tasting Room or set a date for a special event with us. Here, you can experience the natural grace, rustic charm, and delicious wine bottled on our estate and make Holman Ranch’s history part of your history. 

Contact us today so that we can help you make lasting memories. Holman Ranch is a private estate in Carmel Valley, CA. All visits are by appointment only. Contact: [email protected] or 831-659-2640 if you have any questions.