Winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown has been hired by Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery in Sonoma County to consult on its cabernet sauvignon program, the winery announced. Brown joined the team just before the 2017 harvest and is now working with Executive Winemaker Sarah Quider on this new cabernet winemaking program at FC’s Alexander Valley mountain winery.

“The Alexander Valley Mountain winery is set up to do both quantity and quality which is rare. I hope to refine the reds a bit more with extra work in the vineyard and a gentler style in the winery. The key to hillside sites is getting the tannins ripe which will be our focus in the vineyards and when we decide to pick. The grapes will see longer cold soaks but less overall time on skins. We will focus on earlier extraction and press before we start to see seeds break down and contribute astringent tannin,” says Brown.

Brown, whose name many associate with high-scoring bottlings for wineries such as Schrader Cellars, Kinsella Estates and Charles Krug, says he was particularly attracted by the opportunity to work with Ferrari-Carano’s Alexander Valley and Knights Valley sites---in particular, the winery’s newest vineyard, Maacama Ranch

“Maacama Ranch is contiguous to our LookOut Mountain Ranch in Alexander Valley, where we source grapes for our PreVail wines,” said Rhonda Carano, senior executive director and manager of Ferrari-Carano.. “The site is special for so many reasons; the micro-climate of each hillside, the fact that the site is virgin soil--having been used only for grazing sheep, terroir diversity and sun exposure. It is not only perfect for growing cabernet sauvignon, but premium chardonnay grapes as well.”

According to an October story in the Business Journal, which reported the death of winery founder, Don Carano, who parlayed his investments in a Reno, Nevada hotel and casino into the creation of the Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery in Healdsburg. The winery owns 1,900 acres in the North Coast, including its 2008 purchase of Lazy Creek Vineyards in Mendocino County’s Anderson Valley, well known for its cool-climate pinot noir, chardonnay and gewurztraminer. The winery was named after his grandmother, Amelia Ferrari.