A dude ranch getaway filled with fishing, horseback riding, cattle herding and skeet shooting will no doubt work up your appetite for fine wines and epicurean delights. That’s why WE offers five Western ranches that promise nice digs, delicious food and top-notch wine programs:
The Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort (Santa Ynez, CA)
This working cattle ranch nestled in Santa Barbara County wine country hosts an annual Harvest Weekend with Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards, known for consistently producing prize-winning Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Harvest package includes entry to a party that features barrel sampling from Lucas & Lewellen, horseback riding, a winemaker’s dinner barbeque dinner and live entertainment. At The Ranch Room and The River Grill, Executive Chef Pascal Godé hand selects rare local wines like a 2008 SeaSmoke Southing Pinot Noir for club members.
Triple Creek Ranch (Darby, MT)
Situated alongside Trapper Peak in Western Montana, Triple Creek’s most notable feature is a glass wine cellar on the rooftop lounge with more than 2,000 fine wines to choose from, 500 of which are from California, The Pacific Northwest and France. Daily dinner options include a four-course menu featuring mahi mahi ceviche, beef short rib salad, blackened buffalo ribeye steak and honey mousse. Triple Creek offers year-round events for wine devotees, including Vintner Wine Weekends in the spring, featuring seminars by Pacific Northwest winemakers and activities that include fly fishing and couples massages.
Vista Verde Ranch (Steamboat Springs, CO)
At Vista Verde—a 45-minute drive from some world-class ski lifts—you can partake in the weekly, hands-on cooking and wine tasting classes. Executive Chef Matt Campbell teaches guests everything from how to skin salmon without a knife to techniques for evaluating wine. The dinner menu at the ranch restaurant includes comfort foods like buttermilk biscuits and chocolate chip cookies paired with Campbell’s wine recommendations such as an Alamos Chardonnay or Chateau Julien Merlot.
Smith Fork Ranch (Crawford, CO)
At this ranch, Executive Chef Seth Bateman celebrates farm-to-table cuisine, featuring foods like Chèvre sourced from a local goat farm and the ranch’s gardens and chicken coop. Dishes include sweet corn ice cream, chorizo and stone fruit-stuffed quail and candied green tomatoes. Bateman, who has worked as chef de cuisine for Whisknladle in La Jolla and sous chef at The Restaurant at Meadowood in Napa Valley, focuses on pairing the dishes with Petite Syrah, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignons from California.
A Bar A Ranch (Encampment, WY)
Located on the North Platte River in the heart of southern Wyoming’s Medicine Bow Mountains, A Bar A Ranch features a selection of more than 160 international wines. Enjoy the wines during the ranch’s special events like the in-house cowboy concerts and art displays by artists-in-residence (Duke Beardsley recently had work on display). Master Chef Kent Trebilcox’s “western elegant” dishes are prepared with organic produce and natural meats such as prime rib and ratatouille sourced primarily from Fort Collins, Co.
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