January 7 – After 35 years of dedicated service, Carneros sparkling wine pioneer Mike Crumly, Vice President of Vineyard Operations at Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards, is retiring this January 2021.
A native of California, Mike earned his degree in Zoology from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a degree in Viticulture from the University of California, Davis, where he also studied Enology. His postgraduate research in Canopy Management with the renowned viticulturist Dr. Mark Kliewer and subsequent vineyard work in New Zealand further shaped his winegrowing philosophy — one defined by a commitment to nurturing balanced vines.
Following his formal education, Mike began his career at Gloria Ferrer in 1986 – a year before the winery officially opened its doors as the first sparkling winery in Sonoma’s Carneros AVA.
Working closely with Winemaker Emeritus (née Winemaker) Bob Iantosca, Mike spearheaded the winery’s research and trials of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay clones to determine where each clone would perform best in the Gloria Ferrer estate’s unique terroir.
Mike’s extensive and pioneering clonal work began in 1987, when he and Bob traveled to Champagne, France to meet Claude Palgé, a viticulture research specialist who had done extensive work with Pinot Noir for the Comité Interprofessionel des Vins de Champagne (CIVC). They returned to the U.S. with samples of twelve Pinot Noir and six Chardonnay clones from the Champagne region.
Mike then established a research partnership with the University of California, Davis, studying the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay clones as they reached maturity, a patient process which involved information gathering and studying over the course of 25 years, culminating in Mike expertly matching each clone to its ideal growing site in the vineyards. Over the years, Mike also developed canopy management techniques tailored to individual blocks to encourage a broad spectrum of flavors and aromas.
Today, Mike’s dedication and meticulous matching of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay heirloom vines with the estate’s diverse vineyard sites renders infinite possibilities for Gloria Ferrer’s finished wines. Furthermore, all of Mike’s clonal research is available at the University of California, Davis so other wineries can benefit from his extensive work, thus contributing to the Sonoma region’s continued growth and production of world-class wines.
About Gloria Ferrer
A pioneering history and approach to Pinot Noir have made Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards a leader in California sparkling wine for over 30 years. Founded in 1986 in Sonoma, California by the Ferrer family of Spain, Gloria Ferrer combines the best of sparkling winegrowing history with the bounty of the Carneros winegrowing region using time-honored traditional method winemaking and centuries-old sustainability practices.