Gary Farrell Winery Releases Single-Vineyard Wines with Sustainable Winegrowing Label
Gary Farrell Winery, located on scenic Westside Road in Russian River Valley, has long been known for crafting small-lot, Burgundian-styled Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from some of Sonoma County’s most sought-after vineyards. Many of those vineyards are owned and well-loved by multi-generational farming families throughout the cooler regions of Sonoma County, for whom sustainability and carrying the legacies of the land and wine quality associated with their vineyards is deeply entrenched in their farming and business practices. Winemaker, Theresa Heredia, along with the rest of the winery team, considers winegrowers to be true partners, imperative in being able to create wines with a distinctive sense of place. A few of those respected vineyard partners include (but are not limited to): Rochioli; Allen; Bacigalupi; Hallberg; Ritchie; Olivet Lane; Durell; Gap’s Crown; Terra de Promissio; McDonald Mountain and Fort Ross Vineyard – all recognizable names for those who seek out these special wines.
It is often said that sustainability starts in the vineyard. The vineyard is where a thousand decisions are made every year to ensure an excellent vintage; and many of those decisions affect future vintages, or the future of a winegrower’s business. The wonderful thing about Gary Farrell Winery is that sustainability does not end in the vineyard. The winery has made a commitment to operate sustainably as well, having been certified as a California Certified Sustainable Winery (CCSW) in December, 2019. This program requires that the winery develops a continuous process improvement plan and is audited by outside auditors on an annual basis, similar to the way the program approaches certifying vineyard properties. In January 2020, the winery installed 355 solar panels covering the entire roof of the winery, which now accounts for 93% of the winery’s annual power usage. Over it’s 40-year lifespan, the solar array is expected to generate an annual savings of 445,000 driving miles, or the equivalent of the pollutants removed by 212 acres of trees. The team has also installed 3 Telsa / EV charging stations for use of visitors and continues to examine the business and practices for opportunities for improvement in sustainability.
When Sonoma County Winegrowers (SCW) launched the Sonoma County Sustainable Winegrowing seal back in 2017, Gary Farrell Winery was immediately interested. They worked quickly with their growers – the vast majority of which already had certified their vineyards under a sustainability program – to align on requirements to use the label. SCW requires that 85% of the grapes used to make a wine be from a vineyard that is certified sustainable. Of course, the process of making wine, bottling, labeling and ageing wine takes time, but we are thrilled that recently, the winery released five wines with the Sonoma County Sustainable Winegrowing seal on the label. All are available for purchase on their website:
- 2018 GFW Durell Vineyard Chardonnay
- Durell Vineyard was originally planted in 1979 and is located in the southwestern foothills of the Sonoma Valley, north of the San Pablo Bay and east of the Petaluma Wind Gap. Conditions at this vineyard are moderated by the Bay and Pacific ocean, making it ideal for cool-climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. This wine boasts aromas of tart apricot, white nectarine and honeysuckle, with hints of delicate, toasty oak adding layers of complexity.
- 2017 GFW Gap’s Crown Vineyard Pinot Noir
- Gap’s Crown was first planted in 2002 and has quickly risen to the top echelon of Sonoma County Vineyards. Highly sought after by winemakers all over California, Gaps Crown is part of the newly created Petaluma Gap AVA, where the climate is heavily affected by coastal fog. Spanning the foothills of Sonoma Mountain, the vineyard boasts several different soil types at elevations of 300-800 feet above sea level. This Pinot Noir is dark and brooding, with elements of rustic, concentrated fruit and a savory backbone.
- 2017 GFW Lancel Creek Vineyard Pinot Noir
- The Lancel Creek Vineyard is located in the cooler West Sonoma Coast area, just north of Occidental. This tiny vineayrd was planted by the late Ulises Valdez Sr. who planned every detail from vine orientation to clone and rootstock. The site is just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean and is very maritime-includenced with dense fog from nightime to late morning and temperatures ranging from the mid 40s to the mid 80s. The wine is layered and refined, with savory aromas of rosehip, white pepper and fennel, cranberry and pomegranate liquor. Succulent flavors of rhubarb and raspberry comingle into an ideal palate weight and fine, silky tannins.
- 2017 GFW Martaella Vineyard Pinot Noir
- Martaella Vineyard is located in the heart of the Russian River Valley in a “neighborhood” known as Laguna de Santa Rosa. Planted in 2005, the climate here is heavily influenced by the intrusion of fog from teh Pacific which cools the region by as much as 40-degrees. The site was planted with very high vine density, similar to what is seen in Burgundy, France. This yields smaller berries, smaller clsuters, and overall better concentration and balance. The wine is juicy and succulent while being balanced and grounded. The full silky mouthfeel lingers with tangy acidity, exotic spices and firm tannins.
- 2017 GFW Grist Vineyard Zinfandel
- The Grist Vineyard was originally settled by an Italian family in the late 1800’s and is now owned by the Hambrecht family. This Dry Creek Valley property is on the northwestern slope of Bradford Mountain at an elevation of 1,000 feet. The volcanic, red soils re reminiscent of Tuscany’s terra rosa. The wine boasts dark, concentrated aromas of ripe plum, blueberry and blackberry jam with notes of eucalyptus, mint and dried flowers. The mouthfeel displays round berry flavors while being balanced with natural acidity. Silky wood tannins integrate beautifully with the varietal character and provide a long finish.
- 2018 GFW Durell Vineyard Chardonnay
All of this is to say that as a wine lover, buyer or visitor to Sonoma County, you can feel good about enjoying Gary Farrell wines. And there is much to enjoy. The winery’s tasting salon offers intimate seated tastings by appointment in one of he most scenic and breathtaking locations in Sonoma County. Hosts are knowledgeable about the wines and the growing practices and the wine quality is excellent. Recently, Wine Enthusiast Magazine named Winemaker, Theresa Heredia as a finalist for Winemaker of the Year in their annual Wine Star Awards – to which we send congrats and good wishes for a win!
Gary Farrell Winery’s commitment to making wine the way they do – in celebration of the vineyards from which they grow – allows for a tasting experience that truly exhibits what Sonoma County is all about – diversity in terroir, wine style, and flavor profile. A tasting will probably entail the opportunity to try wines from the same vintage, made by the same winemaker, that smell and taste very different based on where they were grown. This experience embodies what it means to try wines with a “sense of place.” The distinction of the wines comes from where they are grown – you can decide which wines (and vineyards) are your favorites.
To make an appointment to taste, or to learn more about these wines, simply visit GaryFarrellWinery.com or call the Wine Concierge at 707-473-2918.