A Little Bit of History


Long before the D.A.Ranch existed, the region was inhabited by the Sinagua, one of the Verde Valley’s early major civilizations. The native people were attracted to the fertile soil and abundance of wildlife but mysteriously disappeared from the area about 800 years ago. Most historians believe they were ancestors of today’s Yavapai people that still reside in the Verde Valley.

Long before the D.A.Ranch existed, the region was inhabited by the Sinagua, one of the Verde Valley’s early major civilizations. The native people were attracted to the fertile soil and abundance of wildlife but mysteriously disappeared from the area about 800 years ago. Most historians believe they were ancestors of today’s Yavapai people that still reside in the Verde Valley.

In the 1800’s, white settlers began migrating to the area for that same fertile soil. The property that we know as the D.A.Ranch was established in order to raise beef cattle along the banks of the Oak Creek by a woman named Gertrude Gates.

In the 1800’s, white settlers began migrating to the area for that same fertile soil. The property that we know as the D.A.Ranch was established in order to raise beef cattle along the banks of the Oak Creek by a woman named Gertrude Gates.

The D.A.Ranch was one of the largest cattle ranches in northern Arizona. The name stood for a cattle brand, D.A. It is a “lazy D” and an “open A.” For many years, since the founding of the ranch, circa 1900, the neighbors knew the name ‘The D.A.Ranch.’ In the late 1980’s, the owners at that time decided to change the name to the Dancing Apache Ranch.

The D.A.Ranch was one of the largest cattle ranches in northern Arizona. The name stood for a cattle brand, D.A. It is a “lazy D” and an “open A.” For many years, since the founding of the ranch, circa 1900, the neighbors knew the name ‘The D.A.Ranch.’ In the late 1980’s, the owners at that time decided to change the name to the Dancing Apache Ranch.


Today, both are used in and around the ranch. For the sake of communication and to pay homage to the original ranch name, we decided to use “The D.A.Ranch.” Members of the Cornville Historical Society are working on putting together a true history of the property from the founding to today. Many lives have been touched by staying, working or playing at the D.A.Ranch.

Today, both are used in and around the ranch. For the sake of communication and to pay homage to the original ranch name, we decided to use “The D.A.Ranch.” Members of the Cornville Historical Society are working on putting together a true history of the property from the founding to today. Many lives have been touched by staying, working or playing at the D.A.Ranch.

In 2002, the Petznick family, who operates one of the oldest privately-owned agricultural businesses in Arizona, purchased the D.A.Ranch. It became a gathering place during holidays, hot summer days and other occasions for the family. The property included an old red barn, an historic schoolhouse for Native American children and the remains of a farrier station.

In 2002, the Petznick family, who operates one of the oldest privately-owned agricultural businesses in Arizona, purchased the D.A.Ranch. It became a place during holidays, hot summer days and other occasions for the family. The property included an old red barn, an historic schoolhouse for Native American children and the remains of a farrier station.


The Petznicks had a vision of how the D.A.Ranch would benefit from the beauty of grapes planted in the fertile soil. Vines were planted in small areas around the Ranch and the first wines were produced for family and friends.

The Petznicks had a vision of how the D.A.Ranch would benefit from the beauty of grapes planted in the fertile soil. Vines were planted in small areas around the Ranch and the first wines were produced for family and friends.

Today, the 200-acre D.A.Ranch reflects the Petznicks beliefs of being good stewards of our environment, cultivating relationships and respecting the land and lives in which they come in contact. The family and ranch represents a new and contemporary sensibility towards the land and its use.

Today, the 200-acre D.A.Ranch reflects the Petznicks beliefs of being good stewards of our environment, cultivating relationships and respecting the land and lives in which they come in contact. The family and ranch represents a new and contemporary sensibility towards the land and its use.

The D.A.Ranch is now much more than a family retreat. Like the vines at the ranch, the Petznicks have planted roots here and have begun new traditions that will be passed down through generations.

The D.A.Ranch is now much more than a family retreat. Like the vines at the ranch, the Petznicks have planted roots here and have begun new traditions that will be passed down through generations.