Skywalker Ranch Tour Review [Cost, How-To Visit, and FAQs]

Skywalker Ranch Tour (1)

Like many Star Wars fans, I view George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch as a sort of Mecca. So it was a personal goal of mine to take a tour of the famous film ranch where so much of the Star Wars movie magic was made. After sifting through a lot of bad information about how someone off the street could tour the ranch, I finally figured out how to visit Skywalker Ranch and when I did, I was not disappointed!

The process for touring Skywalker Ranch is actually pretty straightforward, but it’s not advertised and it’s somewhat of a well kept secret. In this article I’ll break down how anyone off the street can take a tour of some of the Ranch’s facilities and explain what you can expect to see on your visit. Full details are below, but if you are short on time, check out the Web Story for a condensed reading experience.

The Skywalker Ranch Story

Skywalker Ranch is not George Lucas’ private residence. It was originally conceived of by the Star Wars creator as a haven for filmmakers to conceptualize movies rather than physically make them. To that end, the facilities were originally custom-designed to accommodate the creative, technical, and administrative needs of Lucas’s production company. 

Lucas purchased the original 28 acre plot located at 5858 Lucas Valley Rd in 1978 that became Skywalker Ranch. Since then, Lucas’ holdings have expanded to include 3838 Lucas Valley Rd and encompasses 624 acres of land.

Over the years, the ranch has morphed from George’s original vision. Some of the notable facilities on site are Skywalker Sound, The Summit (home to the General Store and Luca’s art gallery), Skywalker Vineyards, the observatory, research library, Skywalker Ranch Fire Brigade, and acres of pasture used to raise Wagyu cattle.

How to Tour Skywalker Ranch [Web Story]

All key points you need to know about touring Skywalker Ranch in an easy to read visual experience.

How to Tour Skywalker Ranch [Step-by-Step]

Credit: Skywalker Retreats

Those wanting to tour Skywalker Ranch can’t just sign up for a tour directly. You have to be invited to the grounds in order to view them. Unfortunately, there are only two ways to get a coveted invitation—pay to stay at the ranch by hosting a corporate event or become a member of the Skywalker Vineyard Wine Club to gain access to the grounds.

Stay for a Corporate Retreat

Credit: Skywalker Retreats

Skywalker Ranch is home to The Summit, one of three estates owned by George Lucas (the other two being Château Margüi in France and Viandante del Cielo in Italy.) According to Skywalker Retreats, Summit Skywalker Ranch was reimagined in 2018 as a creative retreat for like minded businesses to stay and experience the Skywalker vision. Guests will be able to walk the halls and see a gallery of narrative art from George’s private collection or the suites of authentic Japanese samurai armor that adorn the halls.

Typically, visitors are only allowed on the grounds of Lucas’ estates if they are staying there as part of a corporate retreat. To that end, they “invite like-minded businesses to visit for a retreat, to conduct group meetings and team builds in a secure, private and exclusive setting”.

Visitors are treated to a secluded experience in the hills of Marin County. The Ranch boasts a residential feel where “guests are welcomed to stay for business while experiencing discreet Summit style hospitality integrated seamlessly into their agenda. Bespoke architecture, comfortable design, and approachable service are complemented by Skywalker Wines, Wagyu, olive oil, honey, and seasonal produce from the organic garden. Customized programs support a client’s purpose during their visit”.

Pricing for the Ranch’s corporate retreats is not advertised, but you can send inquiries using their online form. However, you can rest assured that this is not a cheap option and that it will likely be out of reach even for most business owners. Ultimately, that still leaves joining the wine club as the best option for visiting the ranch.

Visit as a Wine Club Member

Skywalker Vineyards, is one of three vineyards located on estates owned by the legendary Star Wars director. Luckily, you don’t need to be famous to get an invitation. In fact, it’s pretty easy to get authorization for a visit—as long as you’re a wine club member that is. But don’t worry, it’s not prohibitively expensive to join. While I enjoyed the wine, I joined strictly for the benefits that come with membership. Most importantly, that includes on-site wine tastings and access to some of the Ranch’s facilities.

What Comes With Your Membership

Curated Skywalker Vineyards selections of 4-bottles, three times a year: February, May, and November. Membership activates immediately with sign up confirmation and accepted shipment of your first allocation.

$115 – $225 per shipment (plus applicable tax and shipping)

Confirmation of successful enrollment will come by way of a follow up email introduction by our wine club manager welcoming you to your Skywalker Vineyards Wine Club membership.

Exclusive Membership Benefits

Members of the Skywalker Ambassador Membership will receive:

• Shipping savings – any additional bottles purchased beyond your shipment to complete the case ship at no additional cost!
• Member access to our wine library for exclusive large format wines and previous-vintage wines
• Access to special gift sets & collections, import wines, and limited releases

For a $100 per person tasting fee you can get an invitation to tasting events on Skywalker Ranch.

In addition to the listed benefits, you can arrange a tasting for you and your friends for a $100 per person tasting fee (only one wine club membership holder is required to be present). In addition to private tastings, you will also get invitations to tasting events on Skywalker Ranch, like their Annual Skywalker Rosé Release Party which costs $75 per person and also occurs right on the Ranch.

As an added bonus with every shipment, you also get recipe cards for perfect food pairings. On the reverse side of the recipe card you also get a picturesque photo of a scene from the Ranch.

Skywalker Vineyards Wine Club Unboxing

Getting to Skywalker Ranch

Skywalker Ranch Entrance

If you’ve joined the Skywalker Vineyards Wine Club and arranged a tasting with the staff, then you’re ready for your first visit to the Ranch!

Skywalker Ranch is about half an hour North of San Francisco, on the other side of the bay. Getting there from the city is pretty easy. You just need to take the Lucas Valley Road exit from I-10 North. While Lucas Valley Road isn’t named for the director himself, it is a happy coincidence and should make remembering the directions easy. As you travel to the ranch up the winding road you will enjoy the picturesque scenery.

Once there you will find a gatehouse where a guard will be posted. If you made arrangements for your visit, you can just give them your name. The guard will be able to find you on the Ranch’s approved visitor list and permit you entry. Then simply follow the signs to the winery from there.

On the right-hand side you’ll see a road leading up a small hill. Follow the road up. You will know that you’ve arrived at the winery when you get to the building with the Skywalker statue in front. The winged figure is a depiction of George Lucas’ original concept for Luke Skywalker which now serves as the symbol of Skywalker Vineyards.

Taking the Tour

Once you’ve made it to the Skywalker Vineyards building, you will be greeted by the staff. The building houses the vineyards, tasting room, wine cellar and wine processing and bottling facilities. As you enter the building you’ll get your first taste of Skywalker Vineyards’ wine in the foyer.

As you move throughout the building, new bottles will be opened as the building’s history is revealed. You can soak in the intricate stained glass windows, vintage movie posters, and hand crafted brick walls in the cellar built by the finest craftsman from Italy. You’ll then tour the production facility and see how the wine is bottled and processed. Finally you’ll stop by the wine bar for light snacks before heading down to the Ranch’s main building, The Summit.

Visiting The Summit

Credit: Skywalker Retreats

If you want to tour Skywalker Ranch because you’re a Star Wars fan, then this is probably where you really wanted to visit all along.

A short walk from the winery is The Summit. Outside you will find the famous Yoda statue which is available for photo ops. Upon entering the building you will be welcomed by original Star Wars art on the walls, authentic Japanese samurai armor along the halls, and screen used props on display throughout the premises.

The final stop on your tour is the Skywalker Ranch General Store. Come prepared to spend! The majority of the merch located here is only available at the gift shop and items generally are not very cheap. If you want to walk away with some exclusive merchandise then it will cost you, but you will be glad to have the opportunity to acquire this highly sought after merchandise.

Overlook at Big Rock Trail

If you can’t arrange a tour of Skywalker Ranch or a visit is out of your budget, then consider hiking Big Rock trail to enjoy an overview of the ranch.

According to Outdoor Project, The Big Rock Trail is a mild climb toward the second highest point in Marin County. It opened in 2003 as part of a donation by George Lucas, this path is now part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail. There are many routes to the peak, including the much more difficult Novato Hill Climb, which begins on the opposite side.

Skywalker Ranch Attractions Not on the Tour

Credit: Skywalker Sound

While you will get to see much of Skywalker Ranch by taking a tour as a member of the Skywalker Vineyards Wine Club, you won’t get to see everything. Some things like Skywalker Sound and the Observatory will not be on the agenda. But that’s okay. The experience you do get to have is incredibly memorable and very satisfying. It’s a 10/10 for any Star Wars fan or wine lover!

Published by Tim Santens

I am a gamer and autograph collector. I love writing about both and sharing the stories I find.

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