The Central Coast is an extremely beautiful place. There are verdant forests, breathtaking beaches, rolling vineyards—it just makes sense that this is a prime spot for destination weddings.
That’s the idea John Wilson decided to capitalize on when he opened Greengate Ranch and Vineyards. Wilson was raised in Templeton before he made his fortune in the real estate investment game. He fell in love with Greengate and decided to make it his pet project, putting nearly a million dollars into the renovation of just one of the two houses at the ranch.
It appears that Wilson’s investment in Greengate is really paying off; though the venue’s prices skew into the “exclusive” range, bookings are already nearly full for 2015’s wedding season, said Corinne Smith, Greengate’s director of marketing and events.
- PHOTO BY CAMERON INGALLS
- RAISING THE BARN: The barn and ranch houses of Greengate Ranch and Vineyards play up the subtle rustic elegance of the Central Coast.
It’s easy to see why the ranch is such a popular place, price tag included. The venue is absolutely picturesque. There are two decked-out ranch houses, a big barn, functioning vineyards, oak trees, rolling hills, and stables—it’s both rustic and elegant.
“Our approach to weddings is very different from any of the other venues in the area,” Smith said. “We have accommodations on site, so our perfect couple is coming from out of the area. They’re coming for several days, they’re bringing their friends and family with them and staying on the property.”
That means guests don’t need to worry about coordinating hotels and venues. Greengate is basically the all-inclusive package for a wedding weekend.
“A very typical scenario is we have couples coming into town on Thursday afternoon,” Smith said. “They do rehearsal on property, they do their rehearsal dinner, they slide right into their wedding day on Saturday morning. They party, have a really great celebration on property all day Saturday, and often on Sunday they’ll do a send-off brunch before they check out.”
The venue is also well suited for couples looking for more of an “experience oriented” wedding, Smith added.
“We are a working horse ranch and vineyard,” she explained. “People can come a couple days early, they can do a wine tasting tour right here, they can go horseback riding in the vineyards. We call it the truly authentic California ranch experience.”
Though Greengate was originally envisioned as a nuptial destination, Smith was quick to point out that weddings aren’t the only events the site can house.
“It could be a vacation rental, it could be a corporate retreat, obviously we’re a wedding venue,” Smith said. “We really are hoping to grow the corporate part of the business and bring smaller groups of businesspeople from outside the area here to experience the Central Coast.”
As for the future of Greengate: Smith has high hopes.
“2014 is our first wedding season, and next year will be even bigger and better. We actually have plans to build a third home on site,” Smith said. “I feel like San Luis Obispo is starting to come into its own, and Greengate definitely is gonna be a part of that.”
Greengate Ranch and Vineyards is at 300 Greengate Road in San Luis Obispo. For more information about holding an event there, call 787-0300 or visit greengateweddings.com. Greengate also offers guided tours of the ranch, so potential customers can check out the venue before they commit.
Grover Beach 16-year-old Jared Springer suffered a sudden brain hemorrhage right after he got to school on Oct. 7. He’s currently in a coma at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara. Springer is by all accounts a great kid. He’s a straight-A student at Arroyo Grande High, and he loves hiking, camping, and especially surfing. The hemorrhage was extremely unexpected and has been devastating to the Springer family. The community is holding a barbecue fundraiser for them to help ease the impact of medical costs. The barbecue will be from 2 to 5:30 on Nov. 1. at The PIT Martial Arts and Fitness, 1106 E. Grand Ave., Arroyo Grande. There will be a raffle for a photograph as well as $10 tri-tip sandwich-and-drink meals; all of the proceeds will go to the Springer family.
Intern Cliff Mathieson is starting his own “college apartment” themed wedding venue. Send your business and nonprofit news to [email protected].