Tweet us @WWSNapaSonomaThe Napa | Sonoma WWS chapter’s Bubbles, Brix and Buzz II event, held this year on Feb. 20th, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. PDT at Gloria Ferrer, invites not only members of WWS chapters throughout the United States to participate virtually but also extends the invitation to the wine-drinking public around the world. Simply buy a bottle of Gloria Ferrer wine at a local wine shop ahead of the event, pop the cork, and tweet along with the rest of us tasting live in their Sonoma tasting room. What could be easier?

To get the most out of this tweet and bubbles fest, here are a few suggestions:

  • Buy and enjoy the same wines we’ll be enjoying at Gloria Ferrer: Sonoma Brut followed by the 2004 Royal Cuvée and 2007 José S. Ferrer Pinot Noir. We’ll tweet when each one is being poured and discussed.
  • Sparkling wine should be shared! Enjoy your Gloria Ferrer bubbly with your friends. Make a party of it!
  • Use the hashtag #WWS-GloriaFerrer to participate and follow along with the global tweetchat.
  • We’ll put the best tweeted questions to our guest speaker, Eva Bertran, Vice President of Marketing, at the event and tweet out her answers.
  • Love their wines?Gloria Ferrer wines will be offering a special, one night only 20% discount to tweeters on wine purchases made on the night of the event online. Use offer code WWBBB13 at checkout on 2/20 to get your discount!

#WWS-GloriaFerrer

 @WWSNapaSonoma    @GloriaFerrer

Use WWBBB13 to get 20% off online orders at www.GloriaFerrer.com on 2/20 ONLY!

Please contact us at wwscommunications@comcast.net if you have any questions. Enjoy the bubbly and tweetchat.

Our special guest speaker at Bubbles, Brix and Buzz II will be Gloria Ferrer’s Vice President of Marketing (and fellow woman in wine), Eva Bertran. Having left her native Spain in 1986 — where her own family was in the wine business — she is a member of the original team that launched Gloria Ferrer, and continues to oversee the winery as devotedly as if it were her own family business.

Eva Bertran, Vice President of Marketing, Gloria FerrerEva Bertran brings a captivating blend of Spanish style and California charisma to Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards. Complemented by her impressive wine expertise and deep understanding of the Sonoma Carneros region, Bertran is an ideal leader at Gloria Ferrer. Having left her native Spain in 1986 — where her own family was in the wine business — she is a member of the original team that launched Gloria Ferrer, and continues to oversee the winery as devotedly as if it were her own family business.

Bertran holds a master’s degree in international management from Spain’s top business school, Escuela Superior de Administración y Dirección de Empresas University (ESADE). Armed with this education, she has lent her astute intelligence and dynamic energy to every job she undertakes. She is instrumental in fostering the Catalonian traditions through every facet of Gloria Ferrer, infusing the company culture with her own casual elegance, quick wit, and enthusiasm.

A passionate wine educator, Bertran embraces her role as international ambassador for Gloria Ferrer, leading sparkling wine and food pairings for consumers, trade, and media. She is relentless in her understanding of sparkling wine as much more than a celebratory beverage. The cooking skills that Bertran has cultivated throughout a lifetime have led to a dynamic understanding of sparkling wine and its versatility with food. Her presentations at the winery and throughout the world are insightful and profoundly persuasive.

Bertran is equally involved in her local wine community. A past-president of the Sonoma County Vintners, she remains an active member in the association, while also serving as president of the Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Board of Directors. She also served for many years on the Board of Carneros Wine Alliance.

Away from work, Bertran complements her love of food and wine with her zeal for skiing, biking, yoga, and swimming. Having studied with the famous Catalan Chef Montserrat Segui, she enjoys preparing traditional Catalan dishes inspired by her grandmother, Teresa, for her husband, David, and their sons, Paul and Jack.

We hope you can join us to hear Eva speak at Bubbles, Brix and Buzz II, on February 20th. Our event begins at 5:30 at Gloria Ferrer. Click on the link for ticket information. Cheers!

I was more than a little surprised to learn that when the Ferrers came for a visit to Sonoma in the 1980s there were no sparkling houses in Carneros. Really?

We forget today that what is now vast tracts of vineyards was once prime cattle and sheep ranching land. In fact, you can still see quite a bit of cattle and sheep grazing in Napa and Sonoma counties. But it is a little shocking to register the transformation from livestock land to mature vineyards in little more than two decades.

José and Gloria Ferrer knew a good thing when they first saw it more than two decades ago, however. The Carneros region bore a sublime resemblance to their Catalonian roots in Spain. It had the Mediterranean climate, sloping hills, and maritime influences that were so familiar to them. Could a light bulb not go on in their heads during their visit?

With the land before them seemingly perfect for growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (the key varietals to make sparkling wine), they snapped up 160 acres of cattle ranching land and promptly planted most of it to Pinot Noir vines with the remaining converted to Chardonnay acreage. That was 1982. It wasn’t until a year later before the region was given its official designation as an American Viticultural Area (AVA), recognizing for the first time an area for its unique soil and climate conditions – and not political boundaries.

In 1986, Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards opened their doors. Now bear in mind how very new this was to the Ferrers. Their family had been winegrowers in Spain since the 1500s and was the family behind La Freixeneda—a 12th century farming estate. The Ferrer family founded Freixenet, producing their first cava in 1915, and eventually becoming the world’s largest producer of méthode champenoise sparkling wine. So building a new winery at the end of the 20th century was a whole new adventure in which they could invest centuries of knowledge and experience.

Of course, when you’ve come so far from your homeland, it’s natural to pay homage to your roots. They designed the winery to look like a Catalonian farmhouse (also called a masia). It is situated far from the entrance off Arnold Drive (Rt. 121), nestled against the foothills in the Carneros region of Sonoma County.

The journey up the very long driveway provides an extensive view of the winery, making you more and more curious about what awaits you behind the front door. Fulfilling its promise, there’s nothing quite like relaxing and slowly sipping a glass of Gloria Ferrer’s award-winning sparkling wine after gaining entry. Better yet, enjoy your glass with the panoramic view afforded by the winery’s Vista Terrace.

The Beginnings of Bubbly

A quarter century ago, Gloria Ferrer launched their winery with just one sparkling wine. But today they offer more than a dozen wines, focusing on several sparkling wines as well as their Estate varietals, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

by Will Chubb Photography

Of course, developing a new winery in a new country (to the Ferrers) involved a significant investment in research and experimentation. In the Old World, winemakers and growers had the advantage and expertise of family members and colleagues passing down their knowledge over many centuries. But starting from scratch on what was once Carneros ranch land required a whole new learning curve to determine which vines thrived best in the New World.

Over the past 20-odd years they have studied more than 40 different clones to determine the best suitability for each vine to the various growing conditions in their many different growing blocks. (In many cases these heirloom vines spent years in quarantine at U.C. Davis as research continued before they could utilize the vines on their land.)

With their estate now expanded to 335-acres, dedicated mostly to Pinot Noir, all the fruit for Gloria Ferrer’s varietal wines and a portion of the fruit for their sparkling wines are cultivated on their two Sonoma Carneros estate properties. Both the 207-acre Home Ranch and 128-acre Circle Bar Ranch are planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

When You’ve Been Growing Wine Since the 1500s…

Having a long and rich cultural history as stewards of the land, the Ferrers continue this practice at Gloria Ferrer. It is among the first wineries in California to implement the Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices (a joint effort of the California Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers).

Sustainability covers a multitude of practices to maintain the good health of the land and environment. Here are just a few of them they’ve put into action:

  • Cultivating seedlings in the estate nursery from indigenous seeds gathered throughout the property.
  • These seedlings are then replanted to establish riparian corridors for local wildlife.
  • Native grasses are planted to control erosion on the surrounding hillsides.
  • Legume cover crops are planted between rows in the valleys to replenish the soil with nitrogen and provide habitat for beneficial insects.
  • Wastewater from wine production is reused for vineyard irrigation.
  • Bluebird nest boxes have been installed throughout the vineyards to attract nesting bluebirds.
  • Bluebirds act as natural pest control, feeding on insects harmful to the vines.

Gloria Ferrer is not only a steward of the land but partners in the community with Sonoma Valley’s WillMar Center for Bereaved Children. The vineyard crews actually build the bluebird boxes for the children at the center to paint themselves. These one-of-a-kind, hand-painted bluebird boxes are available for purchase in their tasting room, with 100% of sales going to the WillMar Center.

About Their Wines

And the wine? We’ll have much more about Gloria Ferrer’s wines in the upcoming weeks. (Stay tuned!) Suffice it to say they’re doing nicely: The Gloria Ferrer 2006 Blanc de Blancs won the Sweepstakes at the 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition in January.

If you’d  like a glimpse beyond the winery doors and the patio, the folks at Something About Sonoma snapped this lovely shot of their caves this week.

Be sure to join us on Thursday, March 1st at 6:00 p.m. for our first annual member meeting at Gloria Ferrer. We’ll be celebrating their 25th anniversary as well as winding up Women for WineSense’s 21st birthday celebration.

To learn more, enjoy this 4-minute video celebrating Gloria Ferrer’s 25th anniversary.

You can view other Gloria Ferrer videos on their winemaking, harvest and Catalan Festival on their YouTube channel or on their website. Find them also on Facebook and Twitter.