Yesterday, July 1, 2010, I enjoyed the professional courtesy of a Healdsburg area operations tour by Kelly Conrad, Public Relations Fine Wine Manager for the E. and J. Gallo Winery. First, she took me to see the MacMurray Ranch, where many of the varietals are being produced on an estate formerly owned by much-loved film and television actor Fred MacMurray. From a high ridge in one vineyard, we could see a great deal of the gorgeous wine country surrounding us. I succumbed to the temptation to capture this panorama on a cel phone camera.
The MacMurray Ranch is but one of a group of vineyards owned and operated by the Gallo Family in northern Sonoma county. Wisely, the Gallo Family has consolidated the crushpad and fermentation for these ranch vineyards to be performed at the Frei Brothers Ranch. The blue awnings (which are actually green) cover the white grape fermentation tanks, while in the center we see the larger battery of tanks which perform all of the work in the fermentation, punchdown, and filtering of the red grapes. This facility produces two million cases of wine per year.
Thanks again to Kelly Conrad and her associates at Gallo Fine Wine for giving me a chance to get a closer look at their vineyards and winemaking facilities.