Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery in Sonoma
Last week, I had the pleasure of going on a private tour and wine tasting at Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery in Sonoma County’s wine country.
Established in 1985, Ferrari-Carano is owned by Don and Rhonda Carano and remains a family-owned and operated business. The architecture, gardens, and overall feel of the property instantly reminded of my recent trip to Italy, especially the lake towns of Bellagio and Cernobbio on Lake Como.
Of course, I couldn’t help but be in awe of this gorgeous villa. Villa Fiori (House of Flowers), was built in the late 1980′s and is where the visitors’ center, tasting rooms, gift shop, wine library, a cellar are located.
We began our tour with a wine tasting in Villa Fiori, the main tasting room and gift shop located on the first floor.
Patrick Mukaida, Director of Hospitality for Ferrari-Carano, created a custom guide to their wines just for us, complete with the Skimbaco Lifestyle logo. It’s quite apparent that Ferrari-Carano wants to make their visitors feel special. And we did!
Patrick poured us several wines from their vast selection of nearly 30 wines available to visitors for tasting. We began the tasting with their most popular and widely distributed wine, Fumé Blanc. The 2012 has just been released but has not yet been distributed. It’s a light, crisp wine with notes of orange blossom, pineapple and mango. It would be a nice complement to seafood, poultry, and many ethnic dishes such as Japanese and Mexican.
My favorite wine of the group is Bella Luce. It’s a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat Canelli, Gewurztraminer, Viognier, Pinot Blanc, Muscat Giallo and it’s delightful! It would be the ideal accompaniment to crab and lobster, or a plate of flavorful cheeses.
Once our initial tasting concluded, Patrick led us to the magnificent and peaceful garden. Of the 70-acres that Villa Fiori sits, five of those acres are dedicated to beautiful and well-manicured gardens. Rhonda Carano, an avid gardener, planned the gardens herself. Every year, over 10,000 tulip and daffodil bulbs are planted around the property. It must be stunning to see all the flowers in full bloom. And quite a feast of colors and scents for the eyes and nose.
Visitors may walk through the gardens and take in the sights free of charge. From cork trees to rose gardens, waterfalls to lilly pads, there is much to take in. Thankfully, there are several places to sit down and take a moment to enjoy nature at its best in Rhonda’s spectacular garden.
Also featured around the property are several scupltures by various artist. The boar sculpture was a special birthday present to Don from Rhonda and the gardener sculpture, a gift from Don to Rhonda. Aren’t they lovely pieces of art? My favorite is the playful girl with the bird.
As we made our way from the garden to the large building adjacent to Villa Fiori where the original tasting room had been, Patrick told us that Ferrari-Carano has 19 estate vineyards totaling nearly 1500 acres that are located throughout the wine country. And that nearly all of Ferrari-Carano’s wine is made from their own grapes. White wines are made on the Ferrari-Carano premises, and red wines are made at a large facility in nearby Alexander Valley.
We were guided through the stainless steel tank room, oak barrel rooms and finally ended up in a cellar room back in Villa Fiori. We had unknowingly been walking underground!
Once we passed through the final barrel room, we went up a short flight of stairs to the Enoteca Lounge and Tasting Bar. Here you may try Ferrari-Carano’s limited release and library wines.
With its chic styling and comfortable and relaxing atmosphere, Enoteca Lounge and Tasting Bar is a place you just don’t want to leave. The wine is remarkable and served in crystal glasses appropriate for each different wine.
Rhonda Carano designed the Enoteca and its adjoining private tasting facility, PreVail Room. PreVail room features fine art work, luxurious surroundings, and your own wine steward to walk you through your private tasting. You are certain to feel like a VIP and learn a thing or two about wine while you’re at it!
Ferrari-Carano has something for lovers of wine, gardens and Italian architecture and design. I would highly recommend a visit to Ferrari-Carano to any visitor to Sonoma County.
Several different tour and tasting options are available to guests including:
Free tours are available by reservation Monday through Saturday at 10:00 a.m. After your tour, you may taste four wines in the Villa Fiori tasting room for just $5.00.
The Enoteca Lounge and Tasting Bar is $15.00 for four wines. Your tasting fee will be put towards your purchase of $80.00 or more. Well worth the money, in my opinion!
Private tastings in the PreVail room are available Tuesday through Saturday with reservations. PreVail can accommodate six guests and is $35 per person.
Visit Ferrari-Carano’s website for even more tasting and touring options.
And for more about my wine country life and other travel destinations in California, visit my blog, The Rich Life (on a budget).
Disclosure: My tour and tasting at Ferrari-Carano was comped and I was given one bottle of wine but my views and opinions are my own as always.