October 18th, 2008

I think the only way to begin writing about the Ferrari-Carano winery is by admitting that I chose it this month with slightly disingenuous motivations. With the global economy having, yet again, fallen victim to the greed of a wealthy few, I opted for the winery with Ferrari in its name, hoping for the chance to be a bit snide. I picked the wrong winemakers, if this is what I was looking for.

The first surprise about the Ferrari-Carano winery is that, although this is the rightful name of the enterprise and, as such, it is used liberally in everything they write and do, no mention of the name Ferrari comes up in any of the stories about the foundation or management of the business. Carano is the name of the couple that started the whole thing up in 1979. But the Ferrari? The best I can do is to speculate that they tacked it on as a sort of a goal for themselves. Cultural associations with the name Ferrari are rich and plentiful, as I demonstrated by choosing them this month. In bad economic times, greed and decadence are what I think of. In a world going green, inefficiency and waste also come to mind. But in 1979, Ferrari would have been a gleaming jewel of a name to try to live up to.

And speaking of inefficiency and waste, because that is partly what I was looking for here, I would guess that there is approximately none at this winery. What they seem to be moving toward is a full restoration of the natural environment, with some vines in the middle. They are integrating sheep and cows, as an alternative to pesticides. They have bees for fertilization. They have nesting boxes and perches to attract the birds that will keep away rodents. They are replanting the native trees. They use only biofuels in all of the vehicles on the property. They pave their roads with tree sap. If I was looking to indulge my cynicism at someone else’s expense this month, these are not the right people. I might even have a little less of it to vent on someone else.

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