Dovecote Ranch lies just inland from California’s windswept Central Coast on the eastern side of the cool San Antonio Creek Valley in Northern Santa Barbara County. It rests within the Alisos Canyon corridor where transverse mountain ranges flood the area with daily fog and chilled ocean air. The ranch is situated between the small historic towns of Los Alamos to the north, and Los Olivos to the south, and has been home to the celebrated Thompson Vineyard since 1990.
Millions of years ago the land sat under a shallow eastern shore of the Pacific Ocean, gradually amassing complex layers of limestone from ancient corals and marine animal shells. As the earth slowly cooled and the sea gradually receded westward, a sandy beach covered the limestone with thin powdery dunes and smoothly tumbled stones.
Despite its recent inhabitants’ preference of lungs to gills, the ocean’s touch remains strong as cool fogswept air is breathed eastward through the sandy undulating range of prominent dunes known as the Solomon Hills, extending cool mornings and afternoons, softening midday heat, and yielding cold and often frosty nights.
Wrinkles of Time
Thousands of years of rain, wind, ice, and tectonic shifting further sculpted the land, pushing primordial volcanic stone formations skyward, carving sub-valleys through thick limestone, and transporting layers of large sea-worn stones across vast distances. Today Dovecote’s 250 acres are comprised of no less than ten different soil types, nearly 500 feet of elevation changes, and a bountiful variation of nanoclimates with frequent 40-50 degree diurnal shifts and daily temperatures across the ranch that can differ by up to 20 degrees.
We respect our vineyard as a set of smaller and distinctly different geoclimatic regions and finely tailor our sustainable farming methods to bring out the most honest fruit expressions from each area. Embracing such diversity imparts intense levels of complexity and character otherwise uncommon in wines grown from a single site.
Authentic sense of place matters. It is an indelibly personal awareness that you can feel, smell, taste, and remember. Honestly crafted wine that honors its origins and gives each vintage a voice is one of the most profound lenses into this unique sensory experience. We are proud to share our hand-crafted wines and beautiful estate with guests who seek a deeper connection with the source.