FERRARI - CARANO
When wine lovers hoping to taste the most recent releases from Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery want to try wine, they have three beautiful tasting rooms to choose from - two at the winery's Dry Creek Valley location and the third is on the Healdsburg Plaza, Seasons of the Vineyard Tasting Bar & Boutique. Each tasting room is as fabulous as the other two - warmly inviting, beautifully decorated and presenting flights of wine to satisfy the visitor's craving of the moment.
The first tasting opportunity for visitors to taste wine is at Ferrrari-Carano's elegant Villa Fiore Wine Shop in Dry Creek Valley. Here visitors may taste Ferrari-Carano's Classic Wines at the long tasting bar with its picture-perfect vineyard view through the Villa's tall windows. A stroll around the displays of carefully selected gift items reveals more beauty along with chic logo wear, wine country gifts, cookbooks, and line of bath soaps, lotions and candles that help make a visit to Ferrari-Carano even more memorable.
Before leaving the tasting room to tour the gardens or make a wish by touching the nose of Benvenuti, the bronze boar gazing in friendly fashion from his private patch of flowers, be sure to pick up - and perhaps fill out on the spot, an application for membership in the Circle of Friends Wine Club. If you miss this opportunity, make a note to call Teri Rolleri, club coordinator to sign up to enjoy the privileges of membership. Perks of membership include exclusive discounts on wine, invitations to exclusive, members-only events and wine country weekends, tasting for four when visiting the winery, private tours by appointment, and the Circle of Friends newsletter, to name a few.
As the flow of visitors increased, Rhonda Carano devoted her talents to transforming a portion of the winery's underground barrel cellar into an additional, dramatic, spacious tasting room called the Enoteca Bar & Lounge, which means wine library in Italian. Here visitors may taste Ferrari-Carano's limited release and reserve wines, or schedule an appointment for a private tasting in the PreVail Room for the ultimate wine country experience. Each tasting is tailored to a theme: Pick of the Bunch, Scentiments, White Wine Lovers, The King of Reds, Matchmaker, and the PreVail Tasting. The most popular program since the series began has been "Scentiments", in which participants familiarize themselves with ten fresh aromas present in different varietals and then tests their "smell memory", trying to detect those aromas in a various wines. Also a big hit is the new "Matchmaker" tasting, that pairs seasonal small bites with select Ferrari-Carano wines, proving that there is no such thing as absolutely right or absolutely wrong in wine and food pairing,
In January of 2000, Rhonda created a second showplace, "Seasons of the Vineyard," which quickly became the "go to" place for home decor, with an emphasis on the wine country life-style. A few years later, the shop, though popular and busy, closed for renovations, and in April of 2009, reopened as Seasons of the Vineyard Tasting Bar & Boutique, the only downtown Healdsburg, Ferrari-Carano tasting room, looking quite at home on the north side of the historic Healdsburg Plaza. Seasons of the Vineyard Tasting Bar & Boutique boasts an inviting tasting bar as well as comfortable seating and hand-picked wine tasting flights in a relaxed setting. One conversation starter, if one is ever needed, is the 20-foot tasting bar with a Vettrazo Amber sustainable counter top made from used bottles and old windows. The chips of glass in shades of green, red, blue and brown, gleam and sparkle under the clear light from the chandeliers above that are crafted from Italian glass wine jugs. The exposed brick wall is a well-preserved relic of the past, as is the intricately designed pressed tin ceiling. Added to the beauty of the interior is the appropriate design of the hanging sign above the entrance that invites passersby to Taste, Sip, Shop and Swirl.
To make it easier to accept the invitation, Seasons of the Vineyard Tasting Bar & Boutique has regular evening hours extending until six during the week and until seven on the weekends. Recently, the winery has initiated a series of special attractions entitled "Seasons After Hours" on Thursdays, Fridays and/or Saturdays, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., through the end of October. Seasons After Hours caters to a wide choice of leisure activities. Some evenings are devoted to appearances by guest hosts, winemakers, entertainers, and educators, while other evenings feature musical presentations, suggestions for touring the wine country and exhibits of local art.
Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery is located at 8761 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg, (707) 433-6700, and Seasons of the Vineyard Tasting Bar & Boutique is located at 113 Plaza Street, Healdsburg, (707) 431-2222. For additional information, to schedule a tour or private tasting, or times and dates for special events, contact the winery or go to www.ferrari-carano.com.