Winemaker Ryan Deovlet and Proprietor Kevin Gleason
"Refugio" means refuge in Spanish.
In Santa Barbara County the name "Refugio" has deep roots.
The first Spaniards arrived in the area in 1769. Among the Spanish explorers was a Sergeant named José Francisco de Ortega. Ortega was taken with a particularly stunning stretch of coastline west of Santa Barbara and petitioned the King of Spain for a land grant. He named this swath of land “Rancho Nuestra Señora del Refugio” or “Ranch of Our Lady of Refuge.” The original Refugio Ranch.
Ortega's 26,529 acre ranch stretched from Cojo Canyon in the west to Refugio Canyon in the east. If one follows Refugio Canyon from the sea, up and over the Santa Ynez Mountains into the valley, you arrive at our present-day Refugio Ranch. Our 415 acre estate is nestled into the north face of the Santa Ynez Mountains, with a mile of the Santa Ynez River snaking through the property.
For hundreds of years this has been cattle country. When the Gleason Family purchased the land in 2004 we kept the original name of the cattle ranch - Refugio Ranch - to honor the history and spirit of what came before us.
Having traded cattle for grapes, the Gleason Family set out to produce wines that embody that sense of place - of terroir. Under the supervision of local viticultural legends Jeff Newton and Ruben Solorzano, 26 acres of Refugio Ranch were planted to vineyards in 2006. Winemaker Ryan Deovlet was enlisted in 2008 for our first vintage, and has mindfully crafted our wines every vintage since. Gleason children Max and Callie both left the hustle of New York City to join the family business that their parents had started - with Max acting as General Manager and Callie as Sales Director.
Refugio Ranch is truly a family owned and operated business. Borrowing from Old World traditions of passing land and passion down from one generation to the next. We work on the ranch, we play on the ranch - always with the knowledge that we are merely stewards of the land in the course of its long history.