In the spring of 1979, George and Kit Lee purchased an historic property that dated back to 1856. The property is at an elevation of 1,200 feet and came with old apple orchards, planted in the 1890s by the stagecoach road leading to the then village of Hermitage. Now those rolling hills are planted with thousands of olive trees that produce their estate “Old Chatham Ranch” extra virgin olive oil. Climbing the gorgeous ridge past the olive trees, one can see the beautifully renovated historic turn-of-the-century home with spectacular views of the rugged Yorkville Highland forests, hills and pastureland that rise above the headwaters of Dry Creek. With these breathtaking views, the lawns, gardens, play spaces, orchard, olive groves, and vineyard all blend to make a harmonious landscape with the surrounding Mendocino mountain ridges. Wandering past the gardens and around the pond and up the ridge is a spectacular 15 acre mountain-top vineyard.
At an elevation of almost 2,000 feet, the vineyard is one of the highest in the Yorkville Highlands appellation. This impressive vineyard incorporates 360-degree vistas that include Dry Creek to the south, Cobb Mountain and McDowell valley to the north, Geyserville to the east, and redwoods to the west. Soils, climate, and location are perfectly suited to the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes planted there in the spring of 2001. “Old Chatham Ranch” certified extra virgin olive oil is in limited production and sells out every year.