“I’m proud to say that the Ferrari-Carano name represents quality and consistency without compromise, a commitment that is reflected in every bottle of wine we make.”
A native of Reno, Nevada, Don completed an undergraduate degree at the University of San Francisco, followed by a two-year stint as an officer in the United States Army. Returning to USF, Don attended law school, graduated with honors and began his law practice in Reno. His legal career in Nevada made him an expert in both corporate business and gaming law, and he used his knowledge in those arenas to build his own hotel/casino in 1973, called the Eldorado Hotel and Casino. Today, the Eldorado comprises 817 rooms, nine restaurants, a microbrewery, 70,000 square feet of casino space, a 600-seat showroom, specialty retail shops and a complete convention center. In 1992, Don entered a joint venture with Circus Circus Enterprises, now Mandalay Resorts/MGM, to create the Silver Legacy, northern Nevada’s first mega-themed resort.
In addition to parallel careers as attorney, hotelier and restaurateur, Don became a winery owner in 1981 when he and his wife, Rhonda, founded Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery in Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley. His commitment to fine wine, long-term vision and search for excellence in winemaking has been the driving force behind the success of the Ferrari-Carano brand. Don has consistently been determined to acquire only premium vineyards for estate-grown grapes, the foundation of Ferrari-Carano’s wine program. He has partnered vineyard acquisition with a tireless exploration of winemaking techniques, equipment and cooperage to elicit the best expression of grapes from Ferrari-Carano estate vineyards; a combination of missions that has assured the continuing critical acclaim accorded to Ferrari-Carano wines since its first vintage in 1985.
Today, Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery owns over 19 vineyards scattered throughout Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino Counties, comprising over 1,500 acres of vineyards, and thus controlling the high quality of Ferrari-Carano wines. In 1999, Don and Rhonda bought two additional Sonoma County properties, Vintners Inn, a small, four-diamond hotel in the Russian River Valley area, and John Ash & Co., Sonoma County’s most acclaimed restaurant. In the summer of 2008, the Caranos’ purchased a small, quaint winery in Anderson Valley, Lazy Creek Vineyards, which is known for its outstanding Pinot Noirs.