Earth and Wine: Centuries of Sustainability
Inspired by a centuries-old understanding of the delicate balance between earth and wine, Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards pursues winegrowing with a respect for each vine and for each person in our extended California family. Gloria Ferrer’s founders, the Ferrer family of Spain, are the owners of the first Spanish wine company to obtain international ISO 14001 certification for ethical environmental management. This standard encourages the implementation of systematic approaches to improving environmental practices. True to our roots, sustainability is integral to all that we do at Gloria Ferrer.
Gloria Ferrer was 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). “We are committed to remaining a leader in sustainable vineyard management, with ecological practices being a way of life for us,” says VP Production Mike Crumly. “It’s all encompassing. It’s about natural, human, and economic resources, and, ultimately, this translates into wine quality.”
Biodiversity and Soil Health
Biodiversity on the estate is extensive. Our winegrowing crew cultivates seedlings in our estate nursery from indigenous seeds gathered throughout the property. These seedlings are then replanted to establish riparian corridors for local wildlife. On the surrounding hillsides, native grasses are planted to control erosion. In the valleys, legume cover crops are planted between rows to replenish the soil with nitrogen and provide habitat for beneficial insects.
All wastewater from wine production is reused for vineyard irrigation. Our vineyard team uses a pressure bomb to accurately measure water demand in individual vines, ensuring that each vineyard block is watered according to its specific irrigation needs. Regulated Deficit Irrigation (RDI) decreases irrigation levels to approximately 60%, and this reduced water use causes vines to produce less vegetative growth and focus on fruit development, resulting in deeper, more complex flavors in the grapes and in our finished wines.
Integrated Pest Management and Charity
Gloria Ferrer for many years has installed bluebird nest boxes throughout the vineyards to attract nesting bluebirds. Bluebirds act as natural pest control, feeding on insects harmful to the vines. Through a partnership with Sonoma Valley's WillMar Center for Bereaved Children, we donate bluebird boxes constructed by our vineyard crew for children to paint. This unique partnership allows bereaved children to have a creative outlet with a project that facilitates the renewal of life, while contributing to a meaningful agricultural endeavor. These one-of-a-kind hand-painted bluebird boxes are available for purchase in our tasting room, with 100% of sales going to the WillMar Center. This year we are honoring our partnership with WillMar by adding a limited production wine. A 2011 WillMar Artist Series Pinot Noir is in the barrel and represents the first new Gloria Ferrer Pinot Noir released in a decade. Only 100 cases have been produced and scheduled for release in 2014.
Old World Values Sustain New World Business
Our most important measure of sustainability is expressed by the health and longevity of our team, many of whom have been with Gloria Ferrer for more than two decades. The Old World values of loyalty and dedication on which our winery was founded embody give-and-take relationships that are unusual in American business. Decades of pride and hard work invested by our team translate into the thumbprint of the brand. Our collective memory, between our vineyard and winery crews and throughout the company, ensures heightened wine quality from vine to bottle, vintage to vintage.