On September 20, 1845, Jose Maria Orozco, a customs agent, boarded his horse-drawn wagon and headed north from Old Town San Diego to what is now Valley Center to claim a piece of land covering three square leagues, approximately 13,298 acres.
The property was a gift from the Mexican Governor of California, Pio Pico, who had handed out similar vast parcels to other friends and patrons. It was one of 800 so-called Mexican Land Grant ranches awarded during a romantic period of history known as the “Days of the Dons”. Orozco named the place Rancho Guejito.
Untouched by time, the property has been described as a ranch “that cattlemen see only in their dreams” and a place “where the old west is alive and well.” A rancher who ran cattle on the site for decades declared, “This is where the asphalt ends and the Old West begins.” The ranch has grown over the years from its original historic size of 13,298 acres to approximately 23,000 (36 square miles). The largest single addition came in 1940 when the adjoining Maxcy Vineyard Ranch at 4,500 acres was annexed to Guejito. The most recent acquisition was the purchase of the equally historic 100-acre Rockwood Ranch in 2006, which is now the location for Rancho Guejito Vineyard's Tasting room.
Now in addition to the vineyards, the ranch is home to almost 2,000 grass-fed cattle and many hundreds of acres of citrus, avocados, and vineyards. Our goal is to thrive off of the land and continue to preserve it in the same way as our predecessors.
To see the ranch and all of its breathtaking views and sites, join our Founders Club. As a Founders Club member, you will be invited to special tastings at select locations around the ranch throughout the year. Membership is limited.
Historical information from the Valley Center History Museum.
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