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5 New Year’s Wine Resolutions That You’ll Actually Want to Keep

It’s about a week into the New Year and I’m sure all of you are still going strong on your pledges for 2019! Who else thinks it’s unfair that January 1st came on a Wednesday this year? Don’t they know that you can only start new diets and routines on Mondays? This year we decided to stick with what we know best for our resolutions and think you’ll find these a lot more fun and fulfilling than your average detox.

Resolution #1: Try Something New

While we often find ourselves set in our own ways, the New Year gives us the extra motivation to try something different! In Dry Creek Valley, there’s all sorts of new wines and experiences happening. We’ve recently rediscovered our love for the hard to find, hand cultivated varietals such as Frick Winery’s Cinsault, Zo Wine’s Carignane, or Seghesio Arneis.

Browse by varietal on our Winery Profile pages and try something new this year.

Resolution #2: Travel and see the world.

We’re very excited for 2019, because for the first time Dry Creek Valley is going on three Wine Cruises! We’ll be exploring the flavors of Spain + Portugal on the Douro this April. And then in June, our Bordeaux cruise was so popular we added another sailing option immediately after! If you’re looking to getaway with some of Dry Creek Valley’s best wine, then you’re in luck because there’s still spots available on that second sailing. Make it happen and learn more about it here.

Resolution #3: See my friends more often!

Friends and family seem to only get together on occasions nowadays, so in 2019, make your own occasion. We’re loving the idea of starting your own “Wine Club” with your friends. Set a monthly date, assign a varietal to discuss, and taste. Everyone brings their own bottle to share and the host makes the cheese plate. There are so many easily accessible wine resources that make tasting wine easy and fun like it should be. You can also learn more about Dry Creek Valley’s most popular wines like Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, Old Vine Zin and Rosé today.

Resolution #4: Indulge in a new self-care routine

2019 should is going to be a year of self-care. How can you expect to perform at your peak if you aren’t taking care of your own needs and self? And didn’t you know that a glass of red wine has some great health benefits too?  How about you spend Friday nights with a glass of Zin and that new series you can’t stop watching. Oh, that’s not new? How about Saturday nights with a glass of Dry Creek Valley Grenache and that new series you can’t stop watching. Or, go for a bike ride through your favorite wine country setting aka Dry Creek Valley.

Resolution #5: Embrace + celebrate another year around the sun.

Growing up isn’t everyone’s favorite thing to do. But when it comes to wine we’re all about it! Aged wine is complex and noteworthy. Also this year we’re all about celebrating Passport turning 30! We are so excited to bring in and revel this landmark year. We’re bringing some new things to the event this year and cannot wait to share them with you. Tickets go on sale February 1st at 10am pst, so mark your calendars. Learn more about Passport here.

Thanksgiving Dry Creek Wine Pairings

Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Thanksgiving is a time to connect with family and friends over amazing seasonal dishes. While you are planning all your Thanksgiving dishes this holiday season don’t forget the most important part of your thanksgiving meal… the wine.  Zinfandel is a great Thanksgiving wine because it is a uniquely American wine. See below for our top pairings for zinfandel and more!


1. Smoked Turkey with Truett Hurst Zinfandel

Turkey is the most traditional Thanksgiving dish of them all and a smoked turkey that is already prepared means more time for family. The sweet, fruity flavors of a Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel are a great match for dark and smoked turkey meat. A fruity Truett Hurst Zinfandel pairs perfectly with our classic thanksgiving main dish.

Click here to explore Truett Hurst wines


2. Honey Baked Ham with Armida Pinot Grigio

For some, a honey baked ham is a Thanksgiving delicacy. Honey baked ham is salty with a sweet honey glazed skin. Honey baked ham and Armida Pinot Grigio pair nicely together as the acidity in the wine is a nice balance to the sweetness of the ham.

Click here to explore Armida’s wines

3. Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Bella Vineyards Chardonnay 

Mashed potatoes are creamy and delicious Thanksgiving side dish. Chardonnay has a light body and is a great pairing with creamy and lightly seasoned dishes such as mashed potatoes. Bella Vineyards Chardonnay, light on the oak, would be a fantastic addition to this classic side dish.

Click here to explore Bella Vineyard’s wines

4. Green Bean Casserole and Crispy Onions with Chateau Diana Riesling

Green bean casserole is a creamy delicious side dish with crunchy crispy onions.  A fresh, dry Riesling with stone fruit flavor will balance the creamy and crispy textures of the green bean casserole. Chateau Diana’s Riesling is the perfect pairing for this classic side dish.

Click here to explore their wines


5. Mushroom and Sausage Stuffing with Dutcher Crossing Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is a light red wine with earthy undertones. A  perfect pairing with classic sausage and mushroom stuffing for your Thanksgiving meal.

Click here to explore Dutcher Crossing’s wines

6. Cranberry Sauce with Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc

The acidity and sweetness provided by cranberry sauce is the perfect accent to your turkey, mashed potatoes or stuffing. When adding cranberry sauce to your Thanksgiving dish, pair with a crisp and herbal Sauvignon Blanc to add the perfect touch to your meal.

Click here to explore Geyser Peak’s wines


Feeling full?? A sparkling wine with any Thanksgiving dessert is a light and delicious way to end your meal!



7. Pumpkin Pie with Sbragia Family Vineyards Sparkling Wine

Pumpkin pie is everyones favorite way to end a meal spent with loving family and friends. To celebrate the beginning of the holiday season and a delicious pumpkin pie pair with a Sbragia Family Vineyards Sparkling wine.

Click here to explore their wines

8. Sweet Potato Pie with Mill Creek Vineyards Gewurtztraminer

Although a less common Thanksgiving dessert, sweet potato pie is still an essential part of many families Thankgiving. A crisp and sweet Gewurtztraminer from Mill Creek Vineyards will compliment the sweet and creamy texture of a sweet potato pie perfectly.

Click here to explore their wines

Remembering Don Carano – Founder of Ferrari-Carano

We are saddened by the loss of Don Carano. He was the pioneering founder of Ferrari-Carano Vineyards & Winery and a wonderful, warm presence in our Dry Creek Valley community.

Don and his wife Rhonda Carano fell in love with Sonoma County in the 1970s, and the marvelous winery they built here has helped create countless more love affairs with the region since.

Our hearts go out to his family. We raise a glass in honor of his legacy.

October 4, 2017; (HEALDSBURG, Calif.)—Donald Louis Carano, founder of Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery, Eldorado Resorts Inc., and McDonald, Carano & Wilson, LLC law firm, passed away peacefully on October 3, 2017, surrounded by his family at his home in Reno, Nevada. He was 85.

A pioneer in the gaming, law and wine industries, Mr. Carano was also an entrepreneur, hotelier, restaurateur, husband and father. Mr. Carano is celebrated as a family-oriented, compassionate leader in his businesses and communities, which included both Reno, Nevada, and his wine country home in Geyserville, Alexander Valley, California. Ever passionate about Sonoma County, Mr. Carano said, “This is a very special way to live.”

A second-generation Italian-American, Don Carano was born in Reno, Nevada, on October 17, 1931. He completed an undergraduate degree at the University of San Francisco, followed by two years as an officer in the United States Army. Returning to USF, Mr. Carano attended law school, graduated with honors and began his law practice in Reno. He was a founding member of the prestigious McDonald, Carano & Wilson law firm, and was proud to maintain an “of counsel” relationship with the firm until his passing. Mr. Carano’s legal career in Nevada made him an expert in corporate, business and gaming law, and he used his knowledge in those arenas to build his own hotel/casino in 1973, called the Eldorado Hotel and Casino.

In 1976, Mr. Carano hired Rhonda Bevilacqua to work at the Eldorado. She soon became his wife and lifelong partner in love and in business.

With the Eldorado’s emphasis on fine dining, Mr. Carano and his wife Rhonda fell in love with Sonoma County on visits to source fine California wines for their restaurants. His love for the land in Northern California, the vineyards and winemaking forever changed the course of his life.

After taking classes in winemaking and making small lots of their own wines from their home ranch in Alexander Valley, the Caranos purchased additional land in Sonoma County and founded Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery in 1981. Today, Ferrari-Carano is a household name among wine lovers throughout the U.S. The family owns 24 sustainably-farmed estate ranches comprising over 1,900 vineyard acres in six appellations of Northern California. Mr. Carano explained, “After we bought the initial parcel, the bug of wine bit us, so we constantly over the years acquired different properties.” Throughout the brand’s growth, Mr. Carano made his home at the original Home Ranch in Alexander Valley as well as in Reno, Nevada.

In 2000, the Caranos acquired the boutique hotel Vintners Inn and the legendary John Ash & Co. Restaurant, expanding their vision for genuine hospitality and excellent food and wine. In 2008, they acquired Lazy Creek Vineyards, a winery known for their pinot noirs in Anderson Valley, after becoming enchanted with its rustic beauty that reminded them of their first visits to the North Bay, nearly 40 years earlier.

Whilst Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery grew, so too did the Caranos’ casino properties. When Mr. Carano opened Reno’s Eldorado Hotel and Casino, it had 282 rooms and was thought to be a risky investment. In 1992, Mr. Carano entered a joint venture with Circus Circus Enterprises and Mandalay Resorts/MGM, to create the Silver Legacy Resort Casino. Today, Mr. Carano leaves behind a thriving legacy, with 19 properties in 10 states. The Eldorado Resorts family employs over 14,000 team members.

Mr. Carano’s business ventures have always been anchored by his belief in teamwork and family values. Integrity and an eye toward posterity have guided him in growing sustainable brands people love. His community contributions have been recognized with many honors, including the Nevada Food and Beverage Directors Association Man-of-the-Year Award, the American Lung Association Distinguished Community Service Award, Hotelier of the Year Award, “Knight in the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic” by the Consul General of Italy, University of San Francisco Law School’s Alumnus of the Year, International Restaurant and Hospitality Rating Bureau’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the WIBC Gladys M. Banker Friendship Award, and more. In 2017, University of Nevada Reno recognized Mr. Carano as a Distinguished Nevadan. Mr. Carano was known as a pillar and longtime supporter of philanthropic endeavors throughout his life.

Just a few weeks ago, Don was walking the vineyards in Sonoma County and celebrated the “blessing of the grapes” with his Ferrari-Carano family, a sentimental tradition that kicks off the beginning of harvest every year. Mr. Carano always referred to Ferrari-Carano and the land as a special place; to the many who knew and respected him, Mr. Carano is remembered as a special man who touched their lives in a truly personal way.

Mr. Carano is survived by his wife Rhonda, five children, 11 grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

To see a video of Don and Rhonda Carano telling their winery story, visit:

For press inquiries, high resolution images, or interview requests, contact Chelsea Kurnick at 213-985-1011 ext 5 or [email protected]. For more information about Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery, please visit

About Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery

Founded initially as a small wine farm in 1981 by hospitality-industry pioneers Don and Rhonda Carano, the Ferrari-Carano family of brands now comprises the very best in hospitality, wine and food experiences in California’s North Bay region. The portfolio comprises destination wineries in Sonoma (Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery) and Mendocino (Lazy Creek Vineyards) counties; three wine production facilities; 24 estate-owned vineyards spanning more than 1,900 acres across three counties; the 44-room Vintners Inn and John Ash & Co. Restaurant; and Seasons of the Vineyard Tasting Bar & Boutique in Healdsburg. Ferrari-Carano is one of the region’s leaders, setting the bar for the highest standard in hospitality, wine quality and sustainability.



Chelsea Kurnick
McCue Marketing Communications
[email protected]
(213) 985-1011 ext 5

Cheryl McMillan
Director Marketing Communications
Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery
[email protected]
(707) 433-6700


Wines for Your New Year’s Celebration

Wines for Your New Year’s Celebration

2016 new years eve party

In just a few days, we’ll count down the last minutes of 2015 and usher in 2016! The New Year brings a fresh start and a chance to celebrate and reflect with your nearest and dearest. To kick start the new year, here are some Dry Creek Valley wine pairings for the festivities. (more…)

Dry Creek Valley’s Early History – A Photo Essay

Dry Creek Valley’s Early History – A Photo Essay

Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley was settled by American families following the Gold Rush of 1849. By the 1880s, the area we now recognize as an AVA was home to nine wineries and almost 900 acres of vines were planted. A few of our present-day wineries have been making wine since the 19th century, and many of our current wineries make zinfandel from grapes planted more than 100 years ago. Here’s a photo essay looking back at the early days of a few of our pioneering winegrowers: Mauritson Wines, Seghesio Family Vineyards, Puccioni Vineyards, and Pedroncelli.

Mauritson Family 19th Century Photography old photograph california history vineyard grapes car

The Mauritson family, farming in Dry Creek Valley since 1868.


Dry Creek Valley’s Four-Legged Friends

You need only to look at our Interactive Winery Map to see that many Dry Creek Valley wineries are pet-friendly. At many of our wineries, you’ll find dogs who live on site, helping welcome guests to the tasting room. A few wineries have cats for mascots instead. Where grapes grow, there’s often also fertile land for farm animals, including cows, sheep, goats and pigs. In our latest photo essay, we’re shining the spotlight on some of Dry Creek Valley’s cutest four legged friends.

@roadhousewinery Holly

This is Roadhouse Winery‘s helper Holly.


Winery Spotlight: Passalacqua Winery

Winery Spotlight: Passalacqua Winery

passalacqua winery banner

Every winery in Dry Creek Valley has a unique story to tell, and Passalacqua Winery is no exception. Passalacqua boasts one of the first-ever females to make wine and own a winery in California after prohibition.

The winery is family-owned, making wine and growing grapes in California for five generations. They specialize in small-lot production, taking part every aspect of the winery from planting and growing the grapes to making the wine.

History of this winery dates all the way back to 1865, when Francesco Passalacqua emigrated from Genoa, first embarking on San Francisco, before finally settling in Healdsburg. Once here, he immediately started planting grapes. Thirty years after, he opened Fitch Mountain Cellars. Though the winery closed long ago, visitors to downtown Healdsburg can still spot the original house and a half an acre of grapes on Fitch Street!

passalacqua winery table wines

A turning point came in 1930, when Francesco’s widow, Rachel, purchased the Oliveto Wine Company in Downtown Healdsburg. In 1933, her daughter, Edith, opened Sonoma Wine Cellars in that building. Edith was one of the first women in California to operate a winery after prohibition. To this day, Edith’s original label graces every bottle of their Estate Zinfandel.

In 1979, the third generation of winemakers made their mark. Tom Passalacqua and his wife, Sandi purchased a 300-acre ranch off of Mill Creek Road, at Dry Creek Valley’s southern tip. They planted cabernet sauvignon there.

In 2000, Tom and Sandi’s son, Jason, began making wine, inspired by his family’s rich history. In 2004, their current property on Lambert Bridge Road opened as what we know today as Passalacqua Winery. The winery includes a tasting room showcasing Zinfandel from select Dry Creek Valley vineyards and cabernet sauvignon from the family’s TR Passalacqua Vineyard.

Today, Jason Passalacqua continues his family tradition with pride. He involves his children (the fifth generation) in the business early on. Also, in continuing with the tradition of women winemakers, they hired Jessica Boone Bilbro as a winemaker in 2012! Check out their vineyard located in the heart of Dry Creek Valley and taste their exquisite 2013 Bacigalupi Vineyard Zinfandel while sitting outside and taking in mesmerizing vineyard views. 

passalacqua winery view

Fall in love with Dry Creek Valley – an autumn photo essay

Most months, we find ourselves saying, “This is the most beautiful time of year in Dry Creek Valley!” This November, we really mean it. Whether you are at Bella Wine Caves, looking out on the valley floor from their Lily Hill Vineyard, or across the valley at Ferrari-Carano‘s deck, gazing at Lily Hill, the tapestry of fall colors gives the East Coast a run for its money! Did we mention there’s world class wine to taste, too?

Here’s a series of recent glimpses of Dry Creek Valley that will have you falling in love.

The view from Sbragia Family Winery's patio.

The view from Sbragia Family Winery‘s patio.

Old Vine Zinfandel at Kokomo Winery

Old Vine Zinfandel at Kokomo Winery

Between the rows at Collier Falls Winery

Between the rows at Collier Falls Winery

Fall leaves right outside Selby Winery's Healdsburg tasting room

Fall leaves right outside Selby Winery‘s Healdsburg tasting room

Newborn piglets at DaVero Farms and Winery

Newborn piglets at DaVero Farms and Winery

Leaves after a rain at Bella Wine Cave's Lily Hill Vineyard

Leaves after a rain at Bella Wine Cave’s Lily Hill Vineyard

Rainbow after the rain at Kokomo Winery

Rainbow after the rain at Kokomo Winery

View of Bella's Lily Hill Vineyard from Ferrari-Carano Winery

View of Bella’s Lily Hill Vineyard from Ferrari-Carano Winery

Harvest Progress Report – A Photo Essay

It’s been a fast-progressing harvest season in Dry Creek Valley this year. Check out photos of our wineries getting into the thick of it. Grapes for sparkling wines came in first, followed by sauvignon blanc. Even in our 16 mile long appellation, location and microclimate means that grapes ripen at different rates. For more detailed information about Dry Creek Valley’s 2015 Harvest, check out our Harvest page. To keep in touch with everything that’s happening in Sonoma County, use and follow the hashtag #SCHarvest on your favorite social media channels.

Lambert Bridge Winery interns in the vineyard

Lambert Bridge Winery interns in the vineyard


Online Tasting on August 25: Sustainability in Dry Creek Valley

Online Tasting on August 25: Sustainability in Dry Creek Valley

On Tuesday August 25, 2015 from 5pm-6pm PST, join us on Ustream for an online virtual tasting about Dry Creek Valley’s commitment to sustainable farming and winemaking. We’ll be tasting three wines from wineries committed to gentle practices that preserve our invaluable land. The wines are–of course–delicious, too.


Evan LaNouette, Brad Longton, Gio Martorana