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Holman Ranch: Southern Hospitality in Carmel Valley
Mary Burroughs / Bobbi Stewart

Tucked away in the rolling hills of Carmel Valley, historic Holman Ranch provides a memorable setting for weddings, family gatherings, corporate retreats, and team-building events. This impressive property includes a fully restored stone hacienda, overnight guest rooms, vineyards, olive grove, horse stables and more. The story of Holman Ranch began when California was still part of Mexico. The ranch was part of the lands bestowed to the Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo. In 1928 Clarence Tantau (of Del Monte Hotel fame) designed the classic Spanish-style hacienda that would reside on the property. In the 1940s, Clarence Holman, of Holman’s Depart-ment Store in Pacific Grove purchased the ranch and transformed it into Holman’s Guest Ranch. Along with his wife Vivian, Clarence began remodeling and expanding the facilities, building guest bungalows and stables, as well as one of the first pools in Carmel Valley. Holman Ranch quickly became the center of social life in Carmel Valley, hosting a plethora of “Who’s Who” parties and community events. Clarence Holman died in 1962, but his wife Vivian kept it going, participating in a multitude of social and community activities until her death in 1981. In 1989, Dorothy McEwen stepped in to preserve the Ranch’s historic past as a private estate and event facility. She rekindled overnight accommodations in guest cottages, planted vineyards, and had aspirations of opening a 25,000-case winery. She continued Vivian Holman’s passion for community involvement and old-fashioned hospitality until her death in 2005. Thomas and Jarman Lowder learned of the property from their daughter Hunter, fell for its charms, and purchased Holman Ranch in 2006. Recently retired, Thomas and Jarman decided to fulfill a lifelong dream to make estate grown wine and olive oil. The olive grove on the ranch is composed of 100 trees which are harvested by hand in December. Cold pressed and bottled Holman Ranch’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil has a delightfully distinctive flavor. Their estate-grown wine varietals are planted on approximately 19 acres where the warmth of the inland valley coupled with the cooling marine layer has established itself as an ideal microclimate for the production of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. We visited their newly-developed, almost completed wine caves which will be in full operation during the next harvest in the fall. The estate wines of Holman Ranch also include a classic Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and a refreshing Rosé of Pinot Noir. In 2009, the Lowders finished restoring and completely refurbishing the property, maintaining the Ranch’s old-world charm while providing every modern convenience including Wi-Fi access, flat-screen TVs, and an integrated sound system. It is the perfect setting for weddings, executive retreats, company picnics and banquets, meetings, seminars, networking events, holiday office parties or corporate mixers. Team Building activities onsite include trail rides, skeet shooting, scavenger hunts & poker nights. Amenities include drop down screens, projectors, conference phone, Audio Visual equipment, Wi-Fi access and a fully appointed Executive board room. Imagine sipping estate-grown wine in the vineyards, exchanging vows al fresco, and tasting house-pressed olive oil at your rehearsal dinner. The focal point of Holman Ranch is the estate which offers breathtaking 360-degree views of the Santa Lucia Mountains. Wedding bookings should be made 12-16 months ahead of time. Packages start at $10K, which includes a Sun-Thurs wedding and one day use of facilities and staff. Weekend retreat packages start at $15K and include overnight stay and a Saturday wedding. Holman Ranch offers the charm of its native gardens, the magic of its vineyards as well as the privacy of the estate itself. A world away yet close enough to everything guests could need or desire, Holman Ranch offers unlimited possibilities for weddings, engagements, anniversaries, family reunions, and any other occasion. Holman Ranch is truly a special place to create memories. Visit for more information. •

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