Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards

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Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards
Location Sonoma, California, USA
Appellation Carneros AVA
Founded 1986
Key people José and Gloria Ferrer, Owners; Bob Iantosca, Director of Winemaking; Mike Crumly, Vineyard Manager; Steven Urberg, Winemaker
Cases/yr 150,000
Known for Sonoma Brut, Blanc de Noirs & Carneros Cuvée
Varietals Sparkling wine, Pinot noir, Chardonnay
Other products Olive Oil
Distribution International
Tasting Open to the public

Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards is a winery in Sonoma County, California that specializes in sparkling wines, as well as Pinot noir and Chardonnay wine. Located in the Carneros wine appellation, it was the first sparkling wine producer in Sonoma Carneros.[1][2]


Gloria Ferrer was founded in 1982 by the Ferrer family as their primary venture into California winemaking. Owners of Freixenet S.A., one of the primarily Cava producers in Spain, they fulfilled the families lifelong dream of producing wine in the United States. Purchasing 156 acres of cattle ranch land, an additional 100 acres was acquired and production began.[3] The winery was named after José Ferrer's wife, Gloria. The couple continue to run the winery together to this day.[1]

They began producing in 1986 and while primarily founded as a sparkling wine making venue, in the early 1990s they began producing still wine.[3] Upon this decision, red wine producing facilities were built and the wine caves were expanded for storage of both types of production.[1]

A view of the vineyards from the tasting room balcony.

Gloria Ferrer's wine making mission is: To capture the full expression of the distinctive Carneros terroir in wines made to pair perfectly with food.[3]

Wine production[edit]

Gloria Ferrer's head winemaker is Bob Iantosca and the vineyard manager is Mike Crumly.[1] Iantosca, who joined Gloria Ferrer in 1984 has created more award-winning California wines than any other winemaker.[4]

Gloria Ferrer owns 335 acres of estate owned vineyards and also works with other grape growers throughout the region to make their wines. They own two vineyards: Home Ranch Estate Vineyards, which is 207 acres of Chardonnay and Pinot noir grapes, and Circle Bar Ranch, 128 acres of Pinot noir and Chardonnay. Their grapes are hand picked, in the early morning hours, during harvest season.[3][5]

Well known for their grape clone studies, Iantosca and Crumly started experimenting in 1988. Working with UC Davis they started three clonal tests on the two varietals and have since studied over 40 Pinot noir and Chardonnay clones to date. Each clone is tested for vegetation, vine balance, acidity, harvest time, and proper environment.[3][6]

Sustainability is a strong part of the wine making process as well. Legume cover crops are planted in the vineyard to convert nitrogen for the vine use, as well as serving as homes for beneficial insects. Other examples include: the winery pomace is composted with local farm animal manure that is spread into the vineyards in the spring, wastewater from wine production is recycled back into the vineyards and native plants are the primary plantings throughout the vineyards and winery.[7]

Sparkling wine[edit]

The wineries sparkling wines are made from a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot noir grapes, which are created by the traditional méthode champenoise.[8]

Gloria Ferrer's Royal Cuvee is made from 60% Pinot noir and 40% Chardonnay it incorporates strawberry, raspberry, apple and lemon. Its name is a tribute to the King of Spain.[8]

Pinot noir[edit]

The winery's Pinot noir is grown in two types of soil: loamy clay soil on flatter ground, which produces between five to six tons per acre, and rock & volcanic soil which produces between two to three tons per acre. Pinot noir clones are experimented with by Iantosca and Crumly, who seek to find the right grapes for their Carneros land. In 1988 thirteen clones were tested for their viticultural differences and a handful were selected to continue producing. The most successful clones include Colmar 538, Wente, Wädenswil, Pommard 4, Dijon 115 and Martini.[1]

During the harvest the grapes are de-stemmed completely. Selected wines are filtered, as well. After processing, the wine is placed in 25% to 50% French oak barrels and aged for 9 months.[1] Between 15,000 to 20,000 cases are produced.[9]

They make two vineyard-designated Pinot noirs from their clone research: The Rust Rock Terrace Pinot noir and Grave Knob Vineyard Pinot noir. The Rust Rock Terrace Pinot is from certain blocks of wines on the uppermost hillside of the Circle Bar Ranch vineyard, which has a volcanic ridgeline that provides strong growing conditions. The Grave Knob is produced on the estates rockier and windier southwest corner which provides a more aromatic wine. Less than 400 cases of each wine are created each year.[6]

Enjoying a sparkling wine tasting of 1997 Royal Cuvée and 2003 Brut Rosé at the tasting room balcony.

Olive oil production[edit]

The winery started growing olive trees in 1998 and have since planted almost 500 trees. The trees consist of Spanish Arbequina olives and Italian olives. Their extra virgin olive oil is sold exclusively at the tasting room.[10]

Tasting room[edit]

The tasting room is attached to the winery and is open to the public for touring and tasting, they also offer special events and a membership program. The winery is known for its Catalan Festival of Food, Wine and Music in the summer and the traditional Three Kings Day events during the holidays. The architecture is a tribute to Spanish and California mission design, designed to celebrate the Catalonian tradition of the Ferrer family. The red tile rooftop and stucco walls are a throwback to the Ferrer family 11th century farmhouse in Sant Sadurní d'Anoia.[3]



  1. ^ a b c d e f William Gaffney (2008). "Bob Iantosca: Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards". Volume 6, Issue 62. The Prince of Pinot. Retrieved 6 Feb 2011. 
  2. ^ "Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards". Heard it through the Grapeville. KRON 4. Retrieved 6 Feb 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "At A Glance". Gloria Ferrer. Freixenet. 1994. Retrieved 6 Feb 2011. 
  4. ^ "Windstar to Host Winemakers Gloria Ferrer and Lasseter". Cruises. Travel Pulse. 2011. Retrieved 6 Feb 2011. 
  5. ^ Peg Melnik (2010). "As vineyards mature, Ferrer house style has evolved". Lifestyle. Press Democrat. Retrieved 6 Feb 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "Wine growing at Gloria Ferrer". Press. Freixenet. Retrieved 6 Feb 2011. 
  7. ^ "Sustainable Growth at Gloria Ferrer". Press. Freixenet. Retrieved 6 Feb 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Daedalus Howell (2006). "Gloria Ferrer Champagne Caves". Wine Tasting Room of the Week. Metroactive. Retrieved 6 Feb 2011. 
  9. ^ Peg Melnik (2010). "Wine of the week: Gloria Ferrer, 2006 Carneros Pinot noir". Lifestyle. Press Democrat. Retrieved 6 Feb 2011. 
  10. ^ "A California winery rooted in Spain". Press. Freixenet. Retrieved 6 Feb 2011. 

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