El Rincón Adobe History
“The Rincon Adobe is truly the symbol of Talley Vineyards: It’s been pictured on every bottle of Talley Vineyards wine we’ve ever produced. It’s the first thing visitors see when they arrive, and it’s made of the earth of this place. It preceded us here and will endure long after we’re gone.” Brian Talley
The first thing visitors see when they arrive at Talley Vineyards is the historic El Rincón Adobe built in the early 1860’s by Ramon Branch, son of Francis Ziba Branch, holder of the Rancho Santa Manuela Land Grant and one of the original settlers of the Arroyo Grande Valley. The house is constructed of sun dried mud bricks crafted onsite from soil collected from the area.
The Branch family spoke of the ranch surrounding the adobe house as “El Rincón,” which means “the corner” in Spanish, likely referring to the corner of the 16,955-acre Rancho Santa Manuela. The Rincón Adobe was the smaller of the two adobe houses constructed by the Branch family. The larger Casa Santa Manuela, built by Francis Ziba Branch about two miles west, on land owned by the Ikeda family, no longer stands.
During the years that the Branch family lived in the adobe, the driveway leading to the property was lined by olive trees as it is today. The house itself was surrounded by fruit trees and geranium hedges. The deep window sills are a distinctive feature of the house, reflecting the adobe walls that are more than 24 inches thick. Each morning, according to family lore, the Branch children stood in the sills waiting for their mother to dress them.
Ramon began to establish El Rincón immediately after he and his wife Isabela moved into the adobe, working the surrounding flat land along with his older sons and hired help. Here he raised wheat, barley, corn, and beans, maintained livestock and operated a dairy. The Branch family continued to live off the land surrounding the adobe until they moved in 1892. To this day, this is some of the most productive agricultural land in the Arroyo Grande Valley.
El Rincón changed hands twice before the Talley family purchased the property in 1974 for its prime vegetable land. Don Talley began planting wine grapes in the Rincon Vineyard in 1982, and since Talley Vineyards’ first vintage in 1986, the adobe has been pictured on the winery’s labels. In 1988 the building-the oldest continuously inhabited residence in San Luis Obispo County until that time-was restored to serve as the Talley Vineyards Tasting Room.
Though no longer the main Talley Vineyards tasting room (a new venue was completed in July 2002), the Rincón Adobe remains the symbol of Talley Vineyards and the Talley family’s enduring commitment to the soil and history of the Arroyo Grande Valley. Winery tours include a visit to the adobe, tasting in the historic building and are available for members of the Talley Vineyards Wine Clubs.