Demand for this white wine grape has some Napa, Sonoma vintners eyeing wider North Coast sourcing

21 February 2023

Consumers’ thirst for sauvignon blanc are causing some vintners in Napa and Sonoma counties to look elsewhere in the North Coast appellation for high-quality fruit.

In Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley, Ferrari-Carano Winery released its first wines in 1987, a fumé blanc and a chardonnay. Fumé blanc is a marketing name for sauvignon blanc coined by the late wine pioneer Robert Mondavi in the late 1960s.

As recently as the 2019 vintage, Ferrari-Carano’s fumé blanc had been labeled with a North Coast appellation, according to the company. By federal law, at least 85% of the grapes have to be grown in an approved American Viticultural Area. The North Coast AVA includes all or substantial portions of Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake and Marin counties plus a sliver of western Solano County.

But after Foley Family Wines acquired the winery in August 2020, the Santa Rosa-based company moved sourcing for Ferrari-Carano fumé blanc back to Sonoma County for the 2020 vintage, according to Shawn Schiffer, Foley president.

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