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Best Sparkling Wine

Author: Luke Straub
June, 2019 Issue

Gloria Ferrer caves & vineyards

“We’re all about being approachable, having great conversations. We want the winery to be like your second home.”—Geraldine Flatt, vice president of human resources and retail operations.

Gloria Ferrer, namesake of the 2019 Best Of winner in NorthBay biz magazine’s Sparkling Wine category, has an unrivaled collection of champagne flutes, but that didn’t stop her from creating her own design. In collaboration with Sonoma artist, Alex Leader, she took a classic feature—a wide bowl to enhance the wine’s scent—and combined it with a modern, sleek neck to showcase the wine’s bubbles.

And though Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards was the first sparkling wine house in Carneros, they’re not content to lean on history alone. They strive to make their authenticity accessible to customers and run a sustainable business, becoming the favored destination for a glass of bubbly more than 30 years after the winery’s inception. “People love us because they know we make a quality product,” says Meredith Hayes, direct sales manager. “It’s not just from the awards we’ve received, but from the guests’ experience. They appreciate sitting out on that terrace and enjoying a flight of bubbles on a sunny afternoon. You can’t beat it.”

An expansive view of lush vineyards and landscapes can be enjoyed from Gloria Ferrer’s outdoor seating at their Catalan inspired wine house, just south of the town of Sonoma. The Ferrer family’s winemaking legacy began in Spain, more than 600 years ago. More recently, in the early 1900s, Pedro Ferrer married Dolores Sala, which marked a union of established wine families. The two created Freixenet, a worldwide leader in Cava, a type of Spanish sparkling wine, and in 1982, Pedro’s son Jose purchased 250 acres in Carneros and named the site after his wife, Gloria.

Much has changed in the North Bay since Gloria Ferrer’s opening, but the winery has kept its traditions alive through its employees, including Geraldine Flatt, vice president of human resources and retail operations. She’s been at Gloria Ferrer for 19 years. Vice president of production, Mike Crumly, has worked the estate’s vineyards since its start. Steven Urberg, wine-making director, has been with the winery for 18 years, taking over duties from Bob Iantosca, who’s been with Gloria Ferrer for 29 years.

“The amount of work and love and labor they’ve put into this place is reflected in the wines,” says Hayes. And since the estate is so familiar to the employees, their goal is to make wine revelers feel equally comfortable at the winery. “We care about our customers and make it a welcoming and warm place,” says Flatt. “We’re all about being approachable, having great conversations. We want the winery to be like your second home.” Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards is doing their part to ensure North Bay residents
can enjoy their world-class sparkling wines for years to come; they’ve been a certified sustainable winery since 2016, eyeing the long-term health of the vineyard. “It’s all about the terroir,” says Flatt.

And more than 30 years after its debut, Gloria Ferrer has been sure to sustain its relationship with the area it calls home—bridging the gap between tradition and the current wine scene, much like Gloria Ferrer’s custom flute. “I see Sonoma as the perfect balance between elegance and earthiness,” says Flatt, from inside Gloria Ferrer’s wine house, just south of the town of Sonoma. The winery was packed with guests on a rain-filled, spring afternoon. “It’s not pretentious. It’s what makes you feel comfortable living in Sonoma County.”




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