On the Cover: La Panza Ranch

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Cover of LAND Spring 2019
La Panza Ranch is featured on the cover of the spring 2019 issue of LAND magazine. Click here to find out more.

Welcome to La Panza Ranch—a historic cattle ranch located in the picturesque San Juan Creek Valley where a part of the Old West remains today. With panoramic views of the rugged La Panza Mountains to sweeping vistas of the Carrisa Plains, La Panza Ranch is home to an abundance of wildlife. It is common to see deer, wild boar, bear and the occasional mountain lion roam their hills. Additionally, the famous tule elk is also a roamer of the plains and an occasional frequenter of their water troughs.

The La Panza Ranch features a fascinating history of outlaws and rogues. The ranch is well known for once being owned in the 1860s by Drury James, uncle of the infamous outlaws Jesse and Frank James. The brothers visited and worked on the ranch in 1868 when Jesse was recovering from bullet wounds from a bank robbery. He came to bathe in the sulfur springs at Uncle Drury’s Hot Springs Hotel in Paso Robles. Drury James is also credited as the founder of Paso Robles. The brothers’ stay was without incident and they left a year later. The ranch today produces award winning olive oil under the “Outlaw” brand.

View La Panza Ranch listing on Lands of America

A turnkey operation comprised of 51 certificated parcels under Williamson Act Contract, La Panza Ranch produces a variety of crops:

  • 101± acres of grapes
  • 200± acres of oat hay
  • 135± acres of alfalfa
  • 300± acres of forage hay
  • 280± acres of olive trees

La Panza Ranch has served as a cattle ranch where many neighbors have worked as ranch hands. Today, this historic cattle ranch is supplemented by farming alfalfa and grain hay, wine grapes and olives. A portion of their grapes are sold to local wineries. The olives are used to produce their award-winning signature La Panza Ranch Olive Oils. Their olive orchard consists of 280± acres of super high density olives. They grow three different olives: Arbequina, Arbosana and Koroneiki—which they use to blend in their signature oils. The process is done on-site which ensures the freshest and highest quality products, from orchard to table.

La Panza Ranch boasts an elegant 5,500± square-foot hacienda-style main home. The property includes a guest cottage, bunk house, putting green, helicopter pad, 100± miles of ranch roads, horse barns, hay barns, equipment sheds, extensive fencing and state-of-the-art olive mill complete with nearby office and ranch manager’s home. Further, La Panza Ranch currently runs 230 head of cow-calf pairs and offers all necessary infrastructure for a cattle operation, including a lease on the adjoining 3,300± acre BLM land.

The ranch is also home to their resident honeybees which help produce their La Panza Ranch Honey. The bees visit secluded alcoves that are surrounded by indigenous wild flowers including wild buckwheat, blue curl and sage, to name a few. These industrious artisans spend their days crafting full-flavored honey with a just-right sweetness that is second to none. 

La Panza means “the paunch,” which was a portion of slaughtered beef the vaqueros used as bait to trap or poison the California Grizzly bear, common to the area back then. Today, the area has prolific wildlife including the black bear, mountain lion, tule elk, deer, wild pigs, bobcat, coyote, turkey, golden eagle, hawks, quail and dove.

Throughout the years, the ranch was operated by various cattle partnerships and individuals. The Cowell Foundation owned La Panza Ranch for 55 years. The family’s patriarch, Henry Cowell, had extensive holdings in San Francisco as well as several ranches throughout California. 

In 1996, the property was sold to Robert Petersen of Petersen Publishing in Los Angeles. Petersen used the ranch for hunting and entertaining his race car driver friends and other notables, including Tom Selleck. 

In 2003, Mike Leprino read about the La Panza Ranch in an article in the Wall Street Journal. He saw potential in the 18,000 acres, so he and his daughters embarked on a new adventure as ranch owners and operators of the legendary La Panza Ranch. 

Today, the multi-generational Leprino family gathers at the ranch to enjoy ranch life and the beauty of the property. Legend has it that the ghost of Jesse James still rides in the old oak groves during a full moon!

La Panza Ranch is available for $43 Million.

View La Panza Ranch listing on Lands of America


14,750± Acres | San Luis Obispo County, California | Property ID: 6373874

Clark Company Ranch Real Estate | Pete Clark | (805) 238-7110
ClarkCompany.com | Clark Company: DRE# 00656930

Kerry Mormann & Associates | Kerry Mormann | (895) 689-3242
CoastalRanch.com | Kerry Mormann & Associates: DRE# 00598625

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