Brown Will Focus on Mountain Fruit, Including Grapes Sourced from Maacama Ranch,
Ferrari-Carano’s Newest Estate Vineyard
Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery has hired renowned winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown to consult on its cabernet sauvignon program, bringing his flair for naturalistic wines to the iconic Sonoma County winery.
“We are very honored to be working with Thomas Rivers Brown on our mountain estate Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards in Alexander and Knights Valley,” said Rhonda Carano, Senior Executive Director and Manager of Ferrari-Carano.
“He has inspired careful attention to detail in our vineyard blocks that will help us achieve more balanced flavors and ripeness in our wines,” adds Sarah Quider, Executive Winemaker for Ferrari-Carano.
Brown, whose name many associate with high-scoring bottlings for wineries such as Schrader Cellars, Kinsella Estates and Charles Krug, says he was particularly attracted by the opportunity to work with Ferrari-Carano’s Alexander Valley and Knights Valley sites—in particular, the winery’s newest vineyard, Maacama Ranch.
“Both Alexander and Knights Valley are emerging areas for cabernet, especially with a new focus on quality in the region,” says Brown. “People are starting to look outside of Napa for premium cabernet and the Ferrari-Carano estate mountain vineyards are well positioned to be part of that movement.”
Rhonda Carano has long recognized the potential for growing premium cabernet sauvignon in Sonoma County. She proudly cites the winery’s PreVail wines as super-premium examples and explains what motivated the winery to purchase Maacama Ranch.
“Maacama Ranch is contiguous to our LookOut Mountain Ranch in Alexander Valley, where we source grapes for our PreVail wines,” says Carano. “The site is special for so many reasons; the micro-climate of each hillside, the fact that the site is virgin soil–having been used only for grazing sheep, terroir diversity and sun exposure. It is not only perfect for growing cabernet sauvignon, but premium chardonnay grapes as well.”
Brown joined the team just before the 2017 harvest and is now working with Executive Winemaker Sarah Quider on this new cabernet winemaking program at FC’s Alexander Valley mountain winery.
“The Alexander Valley Mountain winery is set up to do both quantity and quality which is rare. I hope to refine the reds a bit more with extra work in the vineyard and a gentler style in the winery. The key to hillside sites is getting the tannins ripe which will be our focus in the vineyards and when we decide to pick. The grapes will see longer cold soaks but less overall time on skins. We will focus on earlier extraction and press before we start to see seeds break down and contribute astringent tannin,” says Brown.
About Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery
Founded initially as a small wine farm in 1981 by hospitality-industry pioneers Don and Rhonda Carano, the Ferrari-Carano family of brands now comprises the very best in hospitality, wine and food experiences in California’s North Bay region. The portfolio comprises destination wineries in Sonoma (Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery) and Mendocino (Lazy Creek Vineyards) counties; three wine production facilities; 24 certified-sustainable, estate-owned vineyards spanning more than 1,900 acres across three counties; the 44-room Vintners Inn and John Ash & Co. Restaurant; and Seasons of the Vineyard Tasting Bar & Boutique in Healdsburg. Ferrari-Carano is one of the region’s leaders, setting the bar for the highest standard in hospitality, wine quality and sustainability.