An Unparalleled 400-Acre Santa Ynez Valley Ranch And Vineyard By Carey Kendall

Carey Kendall

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Carey Kendall Santa Ynez Valley Mar2020 1Photo Credit: Village Properties

The Valley

In the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley, Rancho la Zaca and Oak Savanna Vineyard nestle amid a landscape of rolling hills, ranches, and vineyards, with swaths of poppy-studded pasture and lupine covered meadow. Carved from a royal Spanish land grant and embodying a mythic old California lifestyle, this remarkable estate stands against a backdrop of stately mountains, and azure skies, yet is but 40 minutes’ drive from Santa Barbara, two hours from Los Angeles, and four hours from San Francisco.

With its open vistas, coastal influences, and excellent land values, it is no wonder the Santa Ynez Valley is rapidly being discovered by savvy investors, Silicon Valley denizens, and the Hollywood celebrity set alike. Local schools are among the best in the state, and the county’s Cottage Hospital Network is among the nation’s finest. The area is known of course for its winemaking, but also for its love of horses, offering superb veterinary care and top training facilities in all equestrian disciplines. Hiking, cycling, golf, tennis, farmers’ markets, fine dining, and an active arts community complete an already brimming and beautiful picture.

The Ranch

Unparalleled in the Santa Ynez Valley, the 400+/- acre Rancho la Zaca is enviously located along the storied Foxen Canyon wine trail.

The main residence is a stunning 8,000+/- square-foot, five-bedroom contemporary masterpiece designed by renowned American architect Hugh Newell Jacobsen and built for the late actor James Garner and his wife. Since acquiring the ranch in 2000, the current owners have enhanced the property considerably with a world-class sporting clay and shooting range; a well-stocked and picturesquely landscaped pond with dock; a romantic grove of mature olive trees; and a modern six-stall horse barn and regulation-sized rodeo arena, complete with cattle shoots and spectator stands. A lovely old picnic area is shaded by massive oaks and lit at night with hundreds of twinkling lights. And finally, miles of hiking and riding trails wind their ways around this sybaritic sportsman’s and nature-lover’s paradise.

The Houses

The main house stands at the end of a long and gracefully curving drive, where a gravel motor court welcomes visitors and provides ample parking. An arbored walkway bordered by juniper topiaries leads to a capacious entry flanked by exterior gardens. From there a glass-walled passage opens to a dramatic, light-filled great room with soaring 25-foot ceilings and fireplaces at left and right. Inspired by the wooden cobblestoned streets of Old Havana, the current owners installed a wooden tile floor, and added wooden mantelpieces atop the rustic limestone hearth surrounds. Living and dining spaces in the room accommodate cozy evenings for two as well as festive gatherings for 20 or more.

From the great room, handsome glass doors lead to a heated, covered patio overlooking an infinity-edge pool and endless views of the vineyards and mountains beyond. A large surrounding porch offers several al fresco seating and dining areas, a firepit, and a pool house with full bath, two separate showers, and changing room.

The master suite occupies the east wing of the house and comprises large separate baths, closets, and dressing areas. An intimate but spacious separate sitting room looks onto a fenced garden on one side, and on the other a private deck bordering the olive grove. Upstairs, via separate staircases, are an office with panoramic views and a bedroom with ensuite bath that can also serve as an office.

Three additional upper-level bedrooms have ensuite baths, built-in cabinets and closets, and are each accessed by separate staircases to afford the utmost privacy. This construction is a famous signature of Architect Jacobsen.

The large kitchen is fully equipped with the highest commercial grade appliances and copious storage for supplies and tableware. The thoughtful, professionally designed set-up is suitable for the most demanding caterer or the most relaxed home cook. An ample butler’s pantry contains a large wine cooler, wet bar, and breakfast nook with stylish banquette seating, the perfect sunny spot to watch the evening news or visit with family and friends over morning coffee.

A service hall from the kitchen contains more cabinetry, an additional sink and dishwasher, and leads to a large laundry room. Rounding out the main level is an office with built-in desk, shelves, and filing drawers, and a separate room for supplies, printer, shredder, and other office equipment.

A lower level contains a temperature-controlled wine cellar, mirrored gym and workout room, and a large storage room.

Two garages house two cars each, plus additional storage areas, and an attached outbuilding holds sporting equipment, bicycles, and waste receptacles.

Elsewhere on the property is a large utility barn, a 4-bedroom Ranch Manager’s house and a 3-bedroom Vineyard Manager’s house.

The Vineyard

Planted in the 1970s, the Oak Savanna Vineyard is one of the oldest in Santa Barbara County. Originally planted in all Chardonnay, varietals have since been expanded to include Syrah, Sangiovese, and Tempranillo. For decades, winemakers near and far have proudly and consistently produced exemplary wines from the superior fruit of Oak Savanna. And while all vineyards are arguably beautiful, the Oak Savanna is uniquely so, distinguished by its ochre-colored limestone end posts. The handsome, rough-hewn posts were carted in from Kansas, where a lack of wood for fencing gave rise to this quarried variety, now ingeniously deployed at Oak Savanna.

The Foxen Canyon Story

An integral part of the legendary Santa Barbara County wine country, the Foxen Canyon Road is home to more than two dozen vineyards and wineries, producing some of our area’s most coveted fruit and finest wines. Winding its way through vineyards, oak studded hills, and lofty mesas with open vistas and see-forever views, the road has long been a favorite with cyclists and Sunday drivers alike. An area of astonishing topographic diversity, pine-topped distant mountains tower over gently rolling pasture land where cattle and horses graze. In spring the hills turn bright yellow with wild mustard, vibrant orange with poppies, and silvery blue with lupine. In summer when the hills turn golden, the verdant foliage of the vineyards punctuates the landscape and heralds the bounty of the harvest to come. Foxen Canyon is itself the quintessential California landscape, truly a special place.

History of the Zaca Spanish Land Grant

Awarded by the Spanish Crown in 1838, the original Zaca land grant is believed to be the first in the Santa Ynez Valley. The grant was small by comparison, at about 4,400 acres, taking its name perhaps from an Aztec word that roughly translates as “peaceful place.” But no one knows for sure, alas. Around the turn of the 19th century, the land was bisected along the boundary formed by the old stage coach route, then referred to in Spanish as the camino. The camino later became Foxen Canyon, named for a distinguished local military officer whose family resides there to this day. In the 1970s, the property was again divided, this time into four parcels, one of which became the 400-acre Rancho la Zaca. The actor James Garner purchased the property in the 1990s and commissioned visionary American architect Hugh Newell Jacobsen to design the current residence, a bold contemporary statement that is as respectful of the surrounding landscape as it is welcoming to all who enter it.

Address: 6903 Foxen Canyon Road, Los Olivos, CA 93454

Price: $16,500,000

For more information please contact Carey Kendall at (805) 688-1620 or

Carey Kendall is the exclusive agent representing the Santa Ynez Valley, CA real estate market as a member of the Haute Residence Real Estate Network. View all of his listings here.

Carey Kendall Santa Ynez Valley Mar2020 2Photo Credit: Village Properties

Carey Kendall Santa Ynez Valley Mar2020 3Photo Credit: Village Properties

Carey Kendall Santa Ynez Valley Mar2020 4Photo Credit: Village Properties

Carey Kendall Santa Ynez Valley Mar2020 5Photo Credit: Village Properties

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