a pond surrounded by lush green trees

Picchetti Ranch Preserve

Picchetti Ranch (Charles Tu)

Overview

Forested canyons of madrone, coast live oak and California bay provide shade on a warm day. On a clear day, the Sierra Azul range, crowned by Mount Umunhum, is visible to the south through a break in the trees. The Zinfandel Trail ducks into the forest, crossing seasonal creeks and connecting with Stevens Creek County Park, managed by Santa Clara County. This 308-acre preserve features 3.7 miles of trail, the historic Picchetti Winery and surrounding homestead.

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Hiking: All Trails
Hiking: All Trails
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Bicycling: Not Permitted
Bicycling: Not Permitted
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Equestrian: Designated Trails
Equestrian: Designated Trails
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Dogs on Leash: Not Permitted
Dogs on Leash: Not Permitted
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Easy Access: Designated Trails
Easy Access: Designated Trails
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Camping: No Camping
Camping: No Camping
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Restrooms: Available
Restrooms: Available
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Kid Friendly
Kid Friendly

Preserve Highlights & Features

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a pond surrounded by trees
Pond at Picchetti Ranch Preserve (Katherine Jen)

Pond

Spring is a great time to visit the pond at Picchetti Ranch. Look for signs of frogs and newts or catch sight of a duck floating by.

Nature

Here are some of the plants and animals that other visitors have observed at this preserve and recorded in iNaturalist. Protected species may be excluded and some species may not yet have been observed. Help improve iNaturalist by adding your observations to the Midpen Biodiversity Index project

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Know Before You Go

Preserve regulations help provide a safe, enjoyable visit while protecting sensitive areas and wildlife. 

Share the Trail 

  • Use designated trails to avoid damage to natural resources and prevent injury. 

  • Avoid blocking the trail. Step aside to allow others to pass .  

  • Whether you’re walking or biking, always yield to equestrians. 

  • Leave no trace. Pack out what you pack in. Most preserves do not have trash cans. Littering is prohibited. 

  • Abuses of trail etiquette should be brought to the attention of a ranger or call the Midpen main office at 650-691-1200. 

Activities & Events

History

A picturesque fragment of Santa Clara County history lives on at the Picchetti Ranch Area. The area, named after brothers Vincenzo and Secondo Picchetti, dates back to the 1800s when Vincenzo emigrated from Italy and shortly thereafter purchased a parcel of land on the ridge of what he referred to as "Monte Bello," Italian for beautiful mountain.

The brothers planted vineyards and orchards here that would become the main livelihood for four generations. Production of the wine began in 1877 and, in 1896, the family invested their money into the development of the main winery that remains today along with the other now historic buildings onsite. Originally bought by Vincenzo's son John, the peacocks that continue to wander the grounds are a reminder of another time when the ranch was filled with various animals and livestock. During prohibition, the family sold portions of their land and relied on income from the prunes, apricots, and pears that grew in the orchards, and on the horses that boarded on the ranch. Eventually the land and business ceased to be profitable for the family.

When Midpen acquired the 308 acres of land property in 1976, the winery and building were in a state of great disrepair.  Support from other groups began the process of restoring the historic buildings, which are listed in the National Registry of Historic Places. The former homestead, ranch, and operating winery, now leased to a private party, are at the edge of the 308-acre preserve.

Special thanks to the Santa Clara County Historical Society, the California Office of Historic Preservation, and the previous lessees Ron and Rolayne Stortz, this special place has a new lease on life.