Gloria Ferrer’s Mayacamas Olds Says Sustainability Makes Better Wine

Mayacamas Olds
Marc Olivier Le Blanc

Born into the wine industry on her family’s Sky Vineyards estate atop Mount Veeder, Mayacamas Olds is named for the mountain range that separates Napa and Sonoma.

As a kid she learned every aspect of the wine business, from sustainable farming to trade tastings. After time in Europe, she earned a Bachelor of Science in fermentation science from University of California, Davis. Stints at Enterprise Vineyards, Sunshine Organic Consulting, Diego Chateau & Estates, Huneeus Vintners and Newton Vineyards all followed.

In early 2020 she was named general manager for Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards in Sonoma, where she oversees everything from operations and hospitality to farming. She holds an MBA in Corporate Sustainability from Presidio Graduate School.

Climate Change Is Rapidly Altering Wine As We Know It

You grew up on a winery estate and vineyard. How did it inform your interest in wine?

Everything revolved around wine. I tried to run away from home at 16 and when I did I moved to Spain and got a cellar job making sherry. It gave me different insight and I fell in love with it and came back home having seen a different piece of the wine world.

You’ve directed vineyard operations at Diageo, for Huneeus and more recently at Newton. Is environmental sustainability the most important focus for someone in that role?

I am always hoping to improve the environmental sustainability as well as human rights and labor issues while trying to grow the best possible grapes that have a sense of place. Whether the wine is $14 or $600 the reason to focus on sustainability is it makes better wines.

You are the general manager of Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards, owned by the Ferrer family of Barcelona. What prompted you to make the jump to this bigger role?

I love fast-paced change. It was too good an opportunity to pass up, I have a huge passion for sparkling wine and it was the first sparkling house in Carneros. The long-term vision is something that I love, plus my early time in Spain and love of Spanish wines helped. Working locally with a global perspective meshed with everything I’ve done in my career.

What are your immediate goals for Gloria Ferrer?

Well, with Covid-19 we are thinking about how we are positioning the business and managing the team. All the tasting room employees have been put in different departments and we’ve started free local delivery in the Bay Area and pivoting on how to get Gloria Ferrer wines to people beyond.

We started two new wine clubs, one geared more for out-of-state customers. And we’re revisioning what hospitality will look like for visitors and staff and how to have a good experience, provide an escape. People will want it and need it.

What do you see as your long-term initiatives for the brand?

I’m building a regenerative model across the business for how to keep the economic piece moving, employees taken care of and keep the business in the family for the next generation. We have a new packaging release in the fall. We are going to focus on creating our own energy – Carneros has a lot of wind and a lot of sun. And we’ll be focusing on sparkling innovations. Part of Gloria’s heritage is this place and the history of Carneros and the Sonoma Valley. We are going to be building on that. We want that to be carried through to the future.

Published on May 12, 2020
Topics: Latest News