[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following letter refers to a story in the April 20 issue of the business times about Santa Margarita Ranch.]
I appreciate you turning your spotlight on the tours and events taking place at Santa Margarita Ranch.
I am writing to express my concern with how the ranch was portrayed as rebranding itself as a sports destination. This is not true. The zipline tours and outdoor events are simply accessory uses to the existing and main use of the property as a cattle ranch, vineyard, winery and hospitality enterprise.
The ranch has a long history of hosting events such as rodeo, trail rides, weddings, and even funerals. Joaquin Estrada (1841-1861) was known for hosting all sorts of community events — he even brought a circus to town in the 1850s. Over the last two decades, the ranch has hosted countless events for nonprofit organizations such as Hospice, C.A.S.A., Boy Scouts, as well as hundreds of weddings and other types of celebrations.
The Santa Margarita Ranch is the home of Ancient Peaks Wines. All of the wines are estate-grown and are widely regarded for their relative affordability as well as high quality. The zip line tours and outdoor events comprise only a small fraction of the total business output of the ranch, and it will remain that way going forward. This is an important distinction as the county decides on how to classify our zipline tours. The zipline tours are simply an extension of the ranch and vineyard tours that we have offered for years.
The mountain bike races and Mud Mash X are part of a much larger hospitality experience at the ranch, which includes food and wine events, train enthusiast festivals, educational tours for school children, private weddings and more.
As such, we want to guard against any misperceptions that the ranch is re-branding itself as an outdoor sports destination, when these things are simply natural additions to a much larger and very diverse ranching, winegrowing and hospitality enterprise.
— Karl Wittstrom,
Co-owner, Santa Margarita Ranch