Ferrari Carano Winery: A Winery In The Garden Of Eden

The dream began over 25 years ago with a farmhouse, two stainless steel tanks and 30 acres of Chardonnay. Today, Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery in Dry Creek Valley has an expansive hospitality center, a soaring vista and finely manicured gardens that leave many speechless. However, it is the premium wines which keep everyone coming back for more.

On the walkway to their Tuscan villa, a flagstone path leads off into a sanctuary filled with over 2,000 species of flowers, shrubs and trees planted along waterfalls, streams and footbridges. A sense of seclusion and tranquility is sure to surround. This is a perfect spot to relax and appreciate what Mother Nature, and Rhonda Carano, have designed.

The beauty continues upon entering “Villa Fiore”, Italian for “house of flowers”. Tall arched windows are set within an intricately carved mahogany frame and displays a colorful view of a reflection pond and a sea of vineyards flowing into the hills. At the long, black granite bar, the wines from which Ferrari-Carano has built their reputation can be tasted. The famed Fume Blanc, renowned Alexander Valley Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are featured, just to name a few. In addition, the unique gift shop offers a chance to find the perfect gift for any oenophile.

For those seeking a more in depth experience, there is the “Enoteca”.

Down a stone staircase beneath the Villa is an underground cellar reminiscent of a Bordeaux chateau.

enoteca-signHere, hundreds of new French oak barrels filled with Chardonnay rest upon coarse Austrian tile under twenty-two foot, vaulted ceilings. Around the corner is a barrel shaped tasting bar with a gleaming galaxy granite top. Custom Italian tile, ebony iron and glass chandeliers and roman pillars set up a stylish and colorful encounter. An array of tables and chairs complete the visit by allowing guests to kick back and fulfill all their senses. Down here, the well-informed and hospitable staff pours the reserve and limited release wines. Their rich and creamy Reserve Chardonnay, Tresor (a Bordeaux blend) and their new premium label, “PreVail”, among many other wines, can all be enjoyed.

If that’s not enough, there is the “PreVail” lounge. A posh, modernistic yet comfortable private tasting room where you and your guests get to relax at a table with one of Ferrari-Carano’s wine educators. Only like whites or maybe just the reds? Well, five different tasting options allow you to tailor the experience to your needs.

A talented team of young winemakers creates Ferrari-Carano’s wines. Aaron Piotter is responsible for creating the complex, full flavored red wines while Sarah Quider is blessing the lineup with glorious whites. Each has scored points in the 90’s multiple times for their wines. While Ferrari-Carano is mostly noted as being a producer of quality restaurant wines, much of the selection tasted in the Villa cannot be found off the grounds.

Although the winery is at the tail end of a long valley, the visit here is anything but one-dimensional and a journey worth taking.

James Claus