ABOUT ALPINE RANCH

Horses. Vines. Views... A Venue

The Only Way You Can Get Closer to the Heart of Sonoma is to Be a Grape

The 1900s farmhouse, with the original stone foundation, was originally the homestead for a large ranch in Alpine Valley, a scenic area in the Mayacamas mountain range between Sonoma and Napa
valley.

A premier Arabian horse and breeding facility, known as Palo Verde, was built in the 1980s with custom-milled cedar wood and horse themed stained-glass windows. It included 95 stalls, a show barn, lab, isolation barn for mares, a quarter mile track and a formal courtyard.

Today, Alpine Ranch is a working equestrian barn and vineyard; the show barn has been converted to an event space, opening onto the formal courtyard and lawn and the original farmhouse is a guest cottage.

There are about 30 horses at the stables, and 15 acres of Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc grapes. We also have chickens in the Chicken Château, a coop that was lovingly designed and named by our late French mother.

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A little background on our family

 

Our parents came from Normandy to work for a French company. They fell in love with America and California. Their favorite place was Calistoga, a small Napa town 10 miles down the road, and the farms of Petaluma, where our mother bought chicken, duck and turkey eggs.

Her decorated eggs were sold in a shop on Sonoma Plaza and at the Renaissance Faire. We were part of her egg factory, helping to empty eggs of all sizes (drilling holes on each end and blowing the contents with a small pump). We ate a lot of omelettes, of course, but our mother’s speciality was quiche.

Our parents dreamed of owning land in this area, and drove every back road for many years, searching, until they found this spot. The ranch was known as Palo Verde, and had been built as an Arabian horse breeding facility.

 

They bought the property in the late 1980s, and planted a vineyard of 15 acres of French varietals, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc.

They built a chicken coop, full of happy chickens who roamed the vineyard and the compost pile. They loved this land, the Mark West and Alpine creeks running through it, and the grandeur of the cedar barns.

They knew it was a great place for a party, and obtained a special events permit from Sonoma County. They hosted many Bastille Day, or 14 Juillet, celebrations for the Bay Area French community. They also hosted family weddings on the property, including daughter Caroline’s and, a few years later, a family friend's, whose father, by coincidence, had helped build the stables.

When they passed away, my brother, sister and I decided to keep this well-loved place in the family. We renovated the original farmhouse, to make it available for short-term rental, and planted an orchard celebrating Sonoma County’s rich agricultural heritage. It now has about 25 heirloom fruit varieties, including some of celebrated botanist Luther Burbank’s best known, the Santa Rosa Plum and Elephant Heart Plum. Most of the other varieties come from a family- run heirloom organic orchard with deep roots in Sonoma. We know how beautiful and special this little corner of Sonoma is, and want to make it available for special occasions for people who will cherish its matchless charm.