The History of Kick Ranch

Kick Ranch harkens back to an important pioneer history in Sonoma County.

Trib and Amanda Fulkerson

An Illustrated History of Sonoma County, California (Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1889) records that Kentucky-born and raised Richard and Sally Fulkerson arrived in Santa Rosa on October 4, 1854 as one of the area’s first pioneer families. They crossed the plains from Perry, Iowa in an ox-drawn wagon.

Title records show that Kick Ranch was part of a larger Rincon Valley ranch owned by the Fulkersons’ son, Stephen, who at 18 married Amanda Cockrill, age 15, in Santa Rosa in 1858.

S.T. FULKERSON, of Rincon Valley, Santa Rosa Township, is the son of Richard Fulkerson, whose biography will be found in this connection. The subject of this sketch was born in Grayson County, Kentucky, July 7, 1840. His parents became pioneers in Davis County, Iowa, in 1844. There, in the new country, with its limited advantages, he was reared to his fourteenth year.

In the spring of the year 1854 the family started on the overland journey to this State, reaching Santa Rosa the fourth day of October. Of the five children who came to this State with their parents, the subject of this sketch was the youngest. He has always followed agricultural pursuits, and with the exception of a temporary absence of eighteen months, had resided in Santa Rosa Township continuously since he was fourteen years of age…

“…the ranch has some of the choicest of valley and foot-hill lands.”

The fine ranch with its shaded, commodious residence, owned and occupied by Mr. Fulkerson and his family, is located on the east side of Rincon Valley, about six miles from the city of Santa Rosa. The residence, elevated above the level of the valley, affords a view pleasing to the eye. It has been occupied by the family since 1883.

The ranch consists of 312 acres, including, as it does, some of the choicest of valley and foot-hill lands. It is well adapted to every production as well as general farming. Twenty-five acres are in vineyard and a few acres in a general variety orchard. The rest is devoted to stock and general purposes…

“Tripp” and Amanda Fulkerson led a long full life in Santa Rosa. He died in 1911.

Fulkersons Celebrate Fiftieth Anniversary of Wedding.

Stephen Trible Fulkerson and Amanda Ellen (Cockrill) Fulkerson’s 50th Anniversary. Back row (from left to right): Ida Helen Cummins, Bruce Cockrill Fulkerson, Alice Clara Gider, Mollie Leona Wendt, Richard Fulkerson, Laura Ellen Badger, and Nora C. Leggett. From a newspaper clipping (Santa Rosa Press Democrat circa 4 Sep 1908)

Santa Rosa, September 4. — Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Tripp Fulkerson celebrated their golden wedding anniversary here a few days ago. What lent additional interest to the celebration was the fact that the couple were married in this vicinity fifty years ago. It was a double wedding, Stephen Tripp Fulkerson marrying Miss Amanda Cockrill, while George Hawkins took Miss Amanda Booth as his bride. Rev. Mr. Brown of the Christian church performed the marriage ceremony.

Mrs. Fulkerson arrived here from Missouri in 1853, and her husband came from Kentucky the following year. They where married when they were 18 and 15, respectively. Seven children were present at the celebration to-day, as well as many of the twenty-four grandchildren and ten great grandchildren.

It is interesting that the Fulkerson pioneer ranch in Rincon Valley included 25 acres of vineyards. Perhaps those vineyards supplied the grapes for one of the earliest wineries in Sonoma County, also located in Rincon Valley.

Dick Keenan and Kathy McNamara purchased the land we developed as “Kick Ranch” in 2000.

Our friends at Rosenblum Cellars perhaps first sparked Dick’s interest in growing grapes. We became stockholders in Rosenblum Cellars in 1992 and began to enjoy and understand the making of fine California wine. Dick was inspired by an introductory grape growing class in 1998, taught by Sonoma County’s most well known viticulture teacher Rich Thomas, to consider something as foolhardy as starting a vineyard. In 1998, we began looking for land to develop as a vineyard, focusing on Sonoma County. Our search took almost 2 years before we located the beautiful property we bought and later named Kick Ranch.

The prior owner of the land that was planted as Kick Ranch lives next to the vineyard, and he raises Clydesdale horses.  In fact, what made him willing to sell us his land was our agreement to give him a “Clydesdale Easement” allowing him to train and drive his Clydesdales on our vineyard roads.

The name, “Kick Ranch”

We chose the name Kick Ranch as a play on our names – Kathy and Dick – but also a way of honoring the support and friendship of our neighbor with his Clydesdales and a name that makes people smile, as they play with the name too. We chose to call the vineyard a “Ranch” to recognize the Mexican – American workers who tend to our vines and often call the vineyards where they work  “ranches.”

Major events and dates in the history of the Kick Ranch vineyard

  • 2000-2001 Land purchased, Vineyard graded and work done to improve vineyard soils. Reservoir constructed. Vineyard planting contracts from Kenwood Vineyards & Winery and Rosenblum Cellars
  • 2002 Vineyard sauvignon blanc, syrah and petite sirah blocks planted
  • 2003 Upper hillside sauvignon blanc and viognier blocks planted
  • 2004 Kenwood Vineyards releases syrah acreage that later is contracted to Pax Wine Cellars, Paul Hobbs Winery and other premium Sonoma County wineries.
  • 2005 Kick Ranch vineyard management begun by Glenn Alexander of Bacchus Vineyard Management with goal of establishing Kick Ranch as source of ultra-premium fruit.

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