Since the mid-19th century, when William and Dorinda Clarke migrated from Missouri with 500 head of cattle, the Circle R has been a working ranch. William Clarke originally purchased the property with scrip he earned as a veteran of the Civil War. From those humble but challenging beginnings, the ranch has passed down to ten generations of ownership. All the while, it has continued to retain its rugged, natural beauty high above Napa Valley.
In the 1950’s, current owner Peter Read worked at his father’s store on Lincoln Avenue in Napa. Going back to those days as a young man, he dreamed of owning a farm and ranch in Napa. Now, having achieved that goal, he and his family consider themselves the next stewards, responsible for protecting a landscape worth caring for and preserving.
The animals were here long before we were.
Black bear, deer, fox, mountain lion, bobcat, coyote, turkey, and, bald and golden eagle have been roaming our region’s surrounding mountains, valleys, and skies for centuries. With the introduction of our own four-legged creatures to Circle R—horses, cattle, sheep, goats, and even dogs and cats—we are carefully adding to the animal population of the land; not just for the purpose of grazing it, but to improve upon it as a place that sustains life.
To maximize the rejuvenation of the ranch as a partially wild habitat, new, improved fencing and gates have been constructed. Meanwhile, refurbished springs, water troughs, and wildlife watering stations have helped guarantee a plentiful and clean water supply—a vital component of this habitat.