For the past 33 years, the Ferrers have helped wine drinkers in Sonoma County learn about the sometimes-underappreciated category of sparkling wines. Named after José Ferrer’s wife Gloria, this winery is one of the only places in Sonoma where you can enjoy sparkling wines with grapes that were hand-picked. When visiting Gloria Ferrer, it is readily apparent that love and attention goes into every product, from their wines to the olive oils. In addition, the Ferrers have taken significant steps to honor and preserve the very earth from which they produce their wines and oils through extensive sustainability efforts designed to keep the winery fertile and viable well into the future.
Read on to learn about the this unique artisan vineyard, and the influence that the Ferrers’ Spanish roots have had throughout more than three decades of cultivation:
Tell us a bit about the history of Gloria Ferrer
The Ferrer family came to the United States from Barcelona, Spain bringing over 150 years of sparkling wine making expertise. They fell in love with Sonoma and decided to buy this land in the Carneros region would be a perfect place to start a California winery. They purchased the land in 1982 from three cattle ranchers, and José named it after a fitted tribute to his wife Gloria. This family owned winery farms over 350 acres of vineyards in Carneros planted mostly with Pinot Noir as well as a few hundred olive trees for olive oil production.
What distinguishes your winery from others in the region?
Gloria Ferrer was the first sparkling wine house in the Carneros region, and it’s the most rewarded sparkling wine house. We are one of the few wineries that still hand harvests their grapes. Our traditional method sparkling wines are aged in the underground caves along with French oak barrels that we use for our still wines. We pride ourselves on sustainable practices. All our wines are award winning, and so is our olive oil. The views from the Vista Terrace are very unique.
What insider tips does your staff like to share with guests when visiting your winery?
Our staff likes to inform guests how sparkling wine is made using the time honored traditional method. They like to educate visitors on wine and food pairings, either when tasting with one of our prepared on site cheese and charcuterie plates or by going on a Bubbles & Bites tour. And also inform them on the different styles of sparkling wine and prove that like still wines there is a large variety of sparkling as well.
Is there a wine, currently at your winery, that your guests are raving about? What makes it special?
The 2011 Brut Rosé is one of our most popular wines. We’re not sure if it’s the gorgeous rosy tint, the glam feeling they have while sipping it, the bursting flavors of ripe strawberries and crisp finish of citrus, or all of the above.
Our 2004 Carneros Cuvée is another popular pick. It is aged for ten years from the time we pick the grapes until the wine is bottled and served. This wine has a limited production, a curvy sleek bottle, and best of class ratings that make it a truly special sparkling.
What do you hope guests take away after visiting your winery?
We want every guest to leave Gloria Ferrer with the understanding that sparkling wine doesn’t have to be a special occasion wine, but an everyday wine. Educated them on the fact that all of our wines are versatile and all provide unique pairings with a variety of food.
What’s a unique characteristic of Gloria Ferrer that guests might not immediately notice?
Unlike most wineries in the area, we offer the luxury of tableside service on our Vista Terrace or indoors when the weather changes rather than standing at a bar. We have a variety of over ten wines to enjoy by the glass or in a flight; you will be sure to find at least one that satisfies your preference. We are experts in sparkling wine but also offer our highly awarded estate vineyard varietals: of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
How do you hope to see your winery evolve in the next 10 years?
We are going to receive our certificate of sustainability this upcoming year, so that will be a major step in the right direction. We would also like to see the quality service and hospitality that we strive to maintain grow and expand among our beloved guests and members.
Are there any exclusive experiences that your winery offers that guests should know about?
The Bubbles & Bites experience is truly a unique experience. The ultimate Gloria Ferrer experience starts with a private tour where you’ll learn about the history of the Ferrer family and the intricate sparkling wine process. Following the tour you will be seated in our Vista room for a special pairing of seasonal bites and our award-winning wines guided by one of our wine educators.
What are your top five wine tastings tips for first time visitors to Gloria Ferrer?
1) As a first time visitor we recommend trying our flights, which include either three or four 3oz. pours, depending on which flight you choose. This way you can taste a variety of wines and see which ones are your favorites.
2) We also recommend tasting the winery exclusive wines; these are wines that you cannot find in the market place to broaden the knowledge of Gloria Ferrer.
3) Take in the sweeping views of Sonoma/Carneros and sit outside on the terrace while indulging in a glass of California sparkling wine.
4) Take a Public Tour (they run three times a day at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.) to learn more about the méthode champenoise and get four tastings along the way, including our varietal Carneros Pinot Noir. Or book a Private Tour to customize your experience and taste the winery exclusive wines.
5) Take a look at our Wine Club benefits. Not only does Gloria Ferrer have one of the most affordable clubs in Sonoma, but also some of the most glorious benefits.