In Local Eats + Drinks, local.drinks, local.getaways

3 Reasons Why We Love Refugio Ranch… And You Will Too

Looking for your next adventure? So were we and boy, do we have you covered:)

On our recent “sister weekend” trip to Los Olivos, Santa Ynez and Solvang, we had the pleasure of visiting Refugio Ranch‘s vineyard and tasting room in Los Olivos. We didn’t know what to expect when driving down the dirt road, but we were quickly blown away by the beauty of the vineyard, the hospitality of Max (the son of Kevin Gleason the owner) and his beautiful wife Vanessa, and the delightful wines we tasted.

3 Reasons why we love Refugio Ranch:

  1. the story
  2. the people
  3. the wine

[The Story]

A little background on Refugio Ranch, Kevin Gleason bought the ranch in 2004 and began the journey into winemaking (and thank goodness he did, because their wine is exceptional!:). The vineyard is nestled on 400+ acres bordered by the Santa Ynez mountains and the Santa Ynez river – which we were fortunate enough to drive around in an awesome off-road Polaris Ranger (definitely a highlight from our entire weekend!).
One of the things we love about Refugio Ranch is that it is a family run business.

[The People]

Welcoming hospitality so warm it’s like family, and an abundance of talent. That only scratches the surface when describing the people of Refugio Ranch. Max has been involved in their family wine business for the past 7+ years — as salesperson, tour guide, creative expert and everything in between — and is officially now the general manager of the vineyard (yay!!).  Max’s sister, Callie Gleason, recently moved back from NYC and after a 3-month sabbatical throughout South America (semijealous ;) to join the family business as the manager of the tasting room, wine club and marketing. We look forward to meeting the rest of the Gleason family and wine team one day!

In addition to the newly promoted GM, Max is also a very talented artist. In fact, his art is displayed throughout their barn, tasting room, wine bottle labels and merchandise. This is just another reason why Refugio Ranch Wine is so unique – all the labels are designed by Max and most of them are silhouettes of his family members. How cool is that?!During our visit, we were very graciously invited into the family’s barn on the vineyard (which BTW, his parents designed and built — yes, can we say, family of talent?). Max gave us a tour of the property, explained their winemaking process (from planting to harvesting to bottling — and tasting of course) and the family story of Refugio Ranch.[The Wine (and wine labels & tasting rooms;)]

As the sun was setting, we made our way over to the tasting room in Los Olivos (just a quick 8 minute drive).  Which, should be of no surprise, is not your average tasting room.

The Refugio Ranch Tasting Room LO was built in 1890 and was originally a fuel station for the trains passing through Los Olivos. The original architecture is still intact and adds to the rustic, small town feel. We loved it. Plus, they have a great outdoor space and a lounge for wine club members (and any guests when it’s not too busy).

They also recently opened a second tasting room in San Luis Obispo (hint-hint, for those of you in the northern 805 area). More reason for us to plan another getaway to SLO soon!As you might imagine, we had a wonderful time at Refugio Ranch — visiting with Max & Vanessa, learning about their family-run wine business, cruising around the beautiful property in the Ranger and of course, tasting the delicious wines.

We will most definitely be visiting again soon and we hope that you will to! Refugio Ranch is a definite must if you’re in the Santa Ynez area (hello next getaway:).Cheers!


Tanisha & Hayley at LL805

#localwine #localgetaway #805wine #notyouraveragewinery #LL805



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1 Comment

  1. Hayley
    2 years ago

    can’t wait to go back!


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