Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards
One of Sonoma County’s favorite sparkling wine houses is sparkling like never before, thanks to a recent remodel. Visitors have long loved the view from the terrace of this Spanish-styled winery that overlooks the Sonoma Valley and Carneros regions, and now they have more of it—from the inside and out.
Gloria Ferrer was founded in 1982 (and the winery built in 1986) by the Ferrer family, the makers of Freixenet cava. Named for the matriarch of the family, Gloria makes some of Sonoma County’s “go-to” sparkling wines, and is now considered a local institution.
Nuts, No Fire—But More Than Nuts
Telling of the bubbly producer’s popularity, Gloria Ferrer wine club members love to stop by often and enjoy the view on the terrace. “It has to be snowing, practically,” I was told by Gloria Ferrer staff, before would-be terrace sitters will retreat inside. So, for the remodel, Gloria Ferrer expanded both club member seating and the regular visitor area, albeit at the expense of the fireplace that often warmed visitors on winter days.
I’ll miss the fireplace, but its absence opens up more Carneros views from inside the tasting room, as well. Gone are the dark wood tones and heavy, traditionalist Spanish furnishings: the new tasting room features casual-modern style seating, and instead of tile, a ceramic floor styled like wood.
No standing around at the gleaming, white pental quartz bar: Gloria now assigns a wine educator to each seated tasting, inside or out.
The ever-popular, roasted Marcona almonds ($10) and Gloria’s almonds ($4) are still on the menu, joined by cheese plates ($12-$20) featuring both Spanish and local artisan curds, as well as charcuterie ($12-$20). There’s even a flight of the Ferrer family’s Spanish red wines ($25) available. Wine flights include three to four selections, two-ounce pours each.
Tours now include an insider’s look at Gloria Ferrer’s art glass collection—no two stems alike. To celebrate the winery’s thirtieth anniversary, Gloria Ferrer is releasing a special set of mouth-blown stemware and replicas for sale in the tasting room.
From the fun Va di Vi to the seriously lean, dry and citrusy Extra Brut Reserve Cuvée, to the richly flavored Royal Cuvée and luxury Carneros Cuvée, Gloria Ferrer offers a lot of value in sparkling wine. Take the informative tour ($20) to learn more about the process and peer into the “champagne” caves.
When grapes aren’t begging to be harvested, presumably, Gloria Ferrer’s vineyard crew spends some spare time building bird boxes. These are painted, in turn, by children at the WillMar Family Grief & Healing Center. You can buy a bird box here ($40) to benefit the environment and the charity.
Hit the Road
Feeling sky-high after all that good bubbly? Just across the way, Vintage Aircraft Company offers biplane rides to the sturdy of stomach; wander through art galleries and curio shops at Cornerstone Gardens to maintain a shopping high.
Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards, 23555 Hwy. 121, Sonoma. Daily, 10am–5pm. Tasting flights $25-$33. 707.996.7256.