25 Years of History
THE FIRST SPARKLING WINE HOUSE IN CARNEROS
Founding Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards was the fulfillment of a longtime dream for José Ferrer. José’s father, Pedro, dreamed of expanding the Ferrer’s tradition of exceptional sparkling wine to the New World, and he began searching for land in the United States in the 1930s. José shared this dream with his father and sent his own son Pedro, and his family, to California to lay the foundation for the family’s first American winery in the 1980’s.
When the Ferrer’s first came from Barcelona, Spain to Sonoma County, California in the 1980s, there was not a single sparkling wine house in Carneros. But the windswept hills, at the time predominantly home to cattle and sheep ranches, awoke a familiar inspiration in José and Gloria Ferrer. The Mediterranean climate, sloping hills, and maritime influences, reminiscent of their native Catalonia, would be ideally suited for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the two most important sparkling wine grapes.
In 1982, they purchased a 160-acre cattle ranch and planted three-quarters of their new estate to Pinot Noir vines and the remaining quarter to Chardonnay. As the first sparkling wine house in Carneros, Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards opened its doors in 1986 with a new winery designed to resemble a masia (Catalan farmhouse).
Now 25 years later, Gloria Ferrer encompasses 335 acres, including the 128-acre Circle Bar Ranch, and has expanded the wine portfolio to include Pinot Noir and Chardonnay estate varietal wines as a complement to the sparkling wine portfolio. With a winegrowing team headed by VP Production Mike Crumly and Executive Winemaker Bob Iantosca, who share almost a quarter century of vintage memories, Gloria Ferrer continues to garner hundreds of gold medals and top accolades throughout the world.
THE FERRER FAMILY
The Ferrer’s, winegrowers since the 1500s and the family behind La Freixeneda – a 12th-century farming estate – were well-established sparkling wine producers in Catalonia, Spain. The marriage of José’s parents, Pedro Ferrer Bosch and Dolores Sala Ferrer, had united two prominent Spanish wine families. The result was Freixenet, which would eventually become the world’s largest producer of méthode champenoise sparkling wines.
Building Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards was the fulfillment of a longtime dream for José Ferrer, whose father, Pedro Ferrer Bosch, had come to the United States in the mid 1930s with the idea of making sparkling wine in North America.
At that time, Pedro and his wife, Dolores Sala Ferrer, were well-established sparkling wine producers in Spain. Their marriage had united two prominent Catalan wine families—the Salas, who owned a wine export business and the Ferrers, winegrowers since the 1500s and the family behind La Freixeneda—a 12th century farming estate. Together they founded Freixenet, producing their first cava in 1915, and eventually becoming the world’s largest producer of méthode champenoise sparkling wine.
In the early 1930s, Pedro Ferrer Bosch went to New Jersey in search of land for a U.S. winery. But he was sent back to Spain by the start of the Spanish Civil War, in which he would lose his life. His youngest son, José Ferrer, who had inherited his father’s pioneering spirit and passion for sparkling wine, never forgot Pedro’s wish to forge sparkling wine in the new world. José Ferrer shared this dream with his wife, Gloria, who would later inspire him to build her namesake winery in a breathtaking Carneros pasture.
THE WOMAN BEHIND THE WINE
It was a brilliantly sunny Sonoma afternoon, and Gloria, on vacation in this picturesque part of the world, sat down to write her husband a letter. The letter described the beauty of rolling Carneros hillsides underscoring an impossibly blue sky, of sun-drenched vineyards and cool afternoon breezes. It reminded her of Catalonia. “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to spend more time here,” she wrote, “to plant vineyards and one day make California wine?”
Today, the award-winning wines of Gloria Ferrer represent the culmination of a family dream that began more than 70 years ago.“For generations, my family has said, ‘When you serve sparkling wine, you are serving a smile.”
Our Visitor Center is open daily from 10am to 5pm. Last seating at 4:15.
Public tours are at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. The cost is $25 per person; $15 for ages under 21 (includes two tastes of sparkling wine and one taste of estate varietal wine). For groups of 7 guests or more please make a Reservation.
For more information, please call us at (707) 933-1917.