For thousands of years the land that comprises Dovecote was the site of a Native American village known as Cuaslui Creek (meaning “sliding place”), an important home to the indigenous people of California’s Central Coast who have lived here since 11,000 BC.

In 1845 the area became part of the Mexican Land Grant known as Rancho La Laguna.  It was later passed to the historic California settler Fredrick Wickenden as part of his marriage within Benjamin Foxen’s family, both of whom helped establish numerous parts of northern Santa Barbara County in the mid to late 1800’s.


When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.
— John Muir

History

1983

The Thompson family purchases nearly 800 beautiful acres of Central California coastal land on Alisos Canyon Road, about 45 minutes north of Santa Barbara and three miles southeast of the historic town of Los Alamos.  They introduce cattle and horses to the land, and begin plans for a world-class vineyard.

1989-1991

David Thompson acquires the coveted Estrella River Syrah cuttings, snuck in by suitcase from the famous Chapoutier vineyard in Hermitage France.  He and Juventino Cervantes (the latter of whom still farms and lives on the ranch alongside his three family generations) carefully select 42 acres of south facing sandy soil and plant the Thompson Vineyard, uniquely using the vine’s own rootstock to preserve the purest expression of these heritage grapes.  Thompson Vineyard becomes just the third Syrah planting in Santa Barbara County and still one of the only own-rooted sites.

1993

The first vintage is bottled.  David Thompson and Stephen Bedford begin making wine on Dovecote Ranch in the Bedford Thompson Winery.  Master winemakers Adam Tolmach (Ojai Vineyard), Craig Jaffurs (Jaffurs Wine Cellars), and Joey Tensley (Tensley Wines) are among the first to recognize the vineyard’s potential and begin producing highly acclaimed wines from Thompson fruit.

1994-2013

For two decades the site’s steep rolling hillsides, thin sandy soils, cool marine air, and extremely low yields produce consistently complex, long-lived wines with an exquisite balance of power and grace.  The vineyard becomes one of the most sought after sources of single-vineyard Syrah by both winemakers and consumers.  After 30 years at the helm, the Thompsons decide the time is right to pass the torch to a new family who can both maintain and improve upon their reputation for growing great wines.

2014 - Present

Following years of searching for the right place to lay down their own roots, the Rowles family graciously accepts the honor of Dovecote Ranch’s ongoing stewardship.  They begin reconditioning the vineyard for its next thirty years and crafting extremely limited quantities of Dovecote Estate Wine, whose singular purpose is to honor and express the unique beauty and character found in the land they are now humbled to call home.

Team

Noah Rowles

Wine Grower, Mad Scientist

Tamara Rowles

Ranch Hospitality, Guest Relations

Jason Grupp

Ranch Manager

The Cervantes Family

Guardians of Soil and Vine