OUR STORY: St. Francis Winery & Vineyards
For over four decades, the wines of St. Francis Winery & Vineyards have reflected the finest mountain and valley vineyards to be found in Sonoma County. The winery’s award-winning varietals—from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and old vines Zinfandel to Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Chardonnay—showcase the rich terroir and varied microclimates special to this world-class wine-growing region.
St. Francis Winery 1979
Since our founding in 1971, St. Francis Winery & Vineyards has continually searched for vineyards with unique soil and climate profiles. St. Francis’s first winemaker, Tom Mackey, spent 25 years cultivating an in-depth understanding of every Sonoma appellation, which he used to acquire and develop the very best vineyards for the winery over the last several decades. That depth of connection to the appellations and vineyards of Sonoma County is carried forward today, with the next generation of winemaking under St. Francis winemaker Katie Madigan.
St. Francis owns 600 acres of prime Sonoma County vineyards, carefully chosen, diverse vineyard sites with varying soil compositions of loam, clay and volcanic soils. St. Francis' estate vineyards give the winery complete control over growing and production; a cornerstone to the winery's quality philosophy.
In addition to owning vineyards in Sonoma's highest quality appellations, St. Francis has carefully nurtured long-term relationships with top Sonoma County grape growers, giving the winery access to some of the region's most coveted old vines Zinfandel grapes and other varietals from acclaimed vineyards, including Rockpile, Amann and Bacchi.
When Mackey began at St. Francis in 1983, there were a handful of wineries in Sonoma and the region struggled to find its identity. St. Francis quickly changed that, pioneering a Sonoma Valley style and leading the way in pinpointing the varietals that were ideally suited to Sonoma soils. Mackey introduced Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel wines, and strengthened St. Francis' commitment to the already-thriving Chardonnay and Merlot wines. The St. Francis moniker quickly became associated with intense, boldly structured red wines.
While most renowned for its red wines—Merlot , Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petite Sirah and Zinfandel (all from old vines between 60 and 130 years old)—St. Francis also produces noteworthy Chardonnays, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc and Port.
St. Francis' nearly 35-year history has been one of constant evolution in pursuit of quality and innovation. A state-of-the-art winery and barrel building built in 1999 dramatically enhanced St. Francis' winemaking capabilities as well as ensured its longstanding commitment to Sonoma County.
St. Francis Sonoma County and Artisan Series Wines
St. Francis Sonoma County wines are blends of specific grape varietals from distinctive vineyard sites within Sonoma County. The majority of fruit is grown on four estate-owned vineyards covering more than 600 acres of Sonoma County’s prime vineyard sites in Sonoma and Russian River valleys.
The warm hillside and cool valley floor vineyards offer a variety of soil types, microclimates and ripening patterns that produce grapes with different aromatics and flavor profiles. St. Francis also sources fruit from Sonoma County’s finest grape growers in seven appellations, which gives the St. Francis winemaking team access to some of the most sought after fruit in Sonoma County. St. Francis wines are full bodied, fruit forward and luscious – ready to drink upon release.
St. Francis Old Vines Zinfandel Program
St. Francis released its first "Old Vines" Zinfandel in 1989. The grapes were handpicked from a 75-year-old vineyard in Sonoma County. Today, St. Francis makes a wide variety of old vines Zinfandels, using fruit from growers in Dry Creek Valley, Alexander Valley, Russian River Valley and Sonoma Valley.
These old vines range in age from 60 to 130 years old and are extremely labor intensive. Their yields are small, from 3 tons to only a half-ton per acre. They are head-trained, dry farmed and from the original St. George rootstock. Vineyards are planted to a field blend of Alicante Bouschet, Petite Sirah, Grenache and Carignan planted among the Zinfandel vines which add color and texture.