If your bubbles are not made in the Champagne region of France, you cannot call them Champagne. It’s a regulatory distinction, not a difference in grapes or the method used to produce the wine.
The method used in Champagne is called Methode Champenoise or Méthode Traditionnelle. We use the same method at Amista and that’s what makes sparkling wines extra special! Still wines go through fermentation only once and are then aged in tanks or barrels. Sparkling wines go through an extra fermentation - producing the delicate bubbles - and are aged in their own bottle.
Although we use the traditional method for crafting our Amista sparkling wines, winemaker Ashley Herzberg and I love to use non-traditional grapes. The classic grapes used in Champagne are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Since we specialize in red Rhône varieties, we make Rhône sparkling wines. Each one has turned out to be a pleasant and delicious surprise.
Note: Today is International Champagne Day so let’s raise a glass to friendship. You can read more about "The Difference Between Champagne and Sparkling Wines" in Food and Wine.
As a woman winery owner, I have been asked lots of questions about what it’s like to be in the wine business and live the wine country life after spending decades in the corporate world. Here are my stories about the wonderful world of sparkling wines – which I love – and owning a vineyard in Dry Creek Valley. I am grateful I get to live near the charming town of Healdsburg, California, in the heart of Sonoma Wine Country. As with any endeavor, there are glorious moments and difficult moments. For me, each of them brings new discoveries and learning, which is why I call them “sparkling moments”.
I started with an education in psychology - pretty much useless for getting a job - which led me to explore breakthrough leadership and a career as an executive in several global corporations. Following my corporate career, I became an executive coach helping CEOs and their teams build the leadership skills they need to achieve top performance.
Getting into the wine business wasn’t exactly a plan. As I look back, I believe it was a dream that my husband Mike and I didn’t know we had and didn’t know we shared. When we started out together, we never knew we'd end up living in Sonoma's beautiful Dry Creek Valley surrounded by our own vineyards. From planting our first vineyard in Silicon Valley, to tasting our first “garage-made” wine out of the barrel with friends in our basement in New Jersey, to eventually moving to this beautiful property in the Dry Creek Valley, the creation of our winery, Amista Vineyards, unfolded over many years and in several locations.
Owning a winery has catapulted me into a leadership role that is both challenging and exhilarating. I love crafting our business strategy, meeting our guests, and nurturing the growth and development of our team. I also love living the wine country life – farm fresh foods, beautiful wines, good friends – all in a stunning setting surrounded by vineyards and rolling hills.
We are dedicated to crafting distinctive wines that inspire you to celebrate the special moments in life and experience the friendly spirit of wine country living. We are proud to produce the best sparkling wine and Rhône varietals in Sonoma wine country, the perfect collection of wines for making everyday moments special and special moments extraordinary.
We are Michael and Vicky Farrow, co-founders of Amista Vineyards. Since we released our first wine in 2005, our goal has been to provide an exceptional wine country experience of Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley. It is a dream come true to live in this special place and we’re excited to share it with you. We will remain small, and family operated, offering our wines through a personal connection with each guest, whether in person or on-line.
We are local. Our grapes come from our estate vineyards just outside the charming town of Healdsburg, California, and from our neighbors in Dry Creek Valley and Rockpile. We want to be able to walk the vineyards, taste the fruit and have a personal relationship with the people who grow our grapes.
We are sustainable. In August of 2018, our estate Morningsong Vineyards became Certified Sustainable by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance. This certification is only one part of our commitment to our land and people. We were part of project to restore the incredible beauty of Dry Creek and at the same time recreate a vibrant habitat for endangered Steelhead trout and Coho salmon. We built our tasting room with energy efficient insulated concrete forms (ICF's) and constructed a solar structure that powers the tasting room and vineyard irrigation. We believe a vital part of our business is to provide extraordinary learning experiences to people on our team who aspire to be leaders and innovators in the wine business and to impact others in lasting and significant ways.
We are friendly. Amista, loosely translated, means making friends in Spanish and we want your experience to be welcoming, engaging and fun. If you visit us in person, you can look forward to a friendly welcome in a beautiful setting surrounded by vineyards. We are also known as the best dog friendly winery in Healdsburg, California.
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