Vineyard Philosophy – Sustainable Wine
Our vineyard practices are customized to match the particular characteristics of each vineyard, to help the vines produce the best fruit possible, and in turn, the best sustainable wine possible.
Great wine begins in the vineyard
Ferrari-Carano has long practiced sustainable farming techniques to help protect the lands they farm – both vineyard and agriculture – and the environment that surrounds them. Rhonda Carano and her late husband, Don, realized early on that to achieve their goal of producing memorable wines of outstanding quality, they needed to start in the vineyards. Inspired to meet their present goals while preserving the land for future generations, Don and Rhonda made the commitment years ago to implement sustainable farming techniques from vineyard to bottle.
The fact that the winery’s name incorporates the word “Vineyards” is a deliberate way to emphasize that grape source and terroir play important roles in the final bottle of wine. From a small, 30-acre plot of grapes purchased in 1979, to today’s 24 certified sustainable estate vineyards in six appellations totaling approximately 1,400 acres, Ferrari-Carano owns some of the finest wine growing properties in all of California. Ferrari-Carano continually seeks the most efficient methods of growing and making world-class wine while being conscientious neighbors and active participants in our community.
Ferrari-Carano becomes a Certified California Sustainable Vineyard in 2015
In 2015, Ferrari-Carano’s 24 vineyards earned California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) certification, becoming a Certified California Sustainable Vineyard for their numerous efforts to preserve the land for future generations while producing memorable, sustainable wine of outstanding quality. The certification acknowledges Ferrari-Carano for being conscientious of the environment, surroundings, neighbors and their labor force.
The Vineyard Team, led by fourth generation farmer and Director of Vineyard Operations Steve Domenichelli, has over 35 years of viticultural experience. Ferrari-Carano’s vineyard practices are extremely labor intensive. Steve and his team implement many programs and protocols, including water use efficiency, soil and nutrient management, trellis system and canopy management, pest management, biodiversity and wildlife conservation, energy efficiency and greenhouse gas mitigation, human resources and soil waste management.
Water Use Efficiency
Water conservation and energy consumption are primary concerns at Ferrari-Carano. One means by which Ferrari-Carano is making an impact at this level is through the conservation of water by transitioning to dry farming our hillside and mountain ranch vineyards. This not only conserves water and energy, but is actually beneficial for the vines, producing grape clusters comprised of tiny berries with intense concentration of fruit flavors. Unique trellising systems and a complex grapevine canopy management program combined with Ferrari-Carano’s dry farming practices ensure additional water and energy savings. Vineyards are watered via drip irrigation to ensure precision, eliminating overflow and wasted spray. Ferrari-Carano has decreased irrigation hours, where irrigation is necessary, in addition to irrigating at night in an effort to keep evaporation at a minimum. Sub-surface irrigation utilized in the vineyards is another way to reduce evaporation while at the same time applying water directly to the grapevine root, as well as utilizing mister delivery systems instead of overhead sprinklers for cooling the grapes during intense heat spikes (temperatures above 100°). At Ferrari-Carano’s Alexander Valley winery production facility, a lagoon system treats water via micro-bubble aeration, making it safe for irrigation; this system eliminates 1.5M gallons of water waste. Ferrari-Carano uses 19M gallons of recycled water from a local wastewater plant to irrigate vineyards and control road dust. Thirty percent of Ferrari-Carano’s vineyards are equipped with wind machines, saving ~23.5M gallons of water. Irrigation cycles are timed strategically, weather stations aid targeted frost protection, and monitoring and new technology enable precise watering.