For over 35 years, St. Francis Winery has produced top quality varietal wines from superior mountain and valley vineyards in Sonoma County's best appellations and earned a reputation for bold-flavored, fruit-forward wines that showcase the terroir and varied microclimates unique to Sonoma.
Since its founding in 1971, St. Francis Winery & Vineyards has carried on a constant search for vineyards with unique soil and climate characteristics. Winemaker Tom Mackey, who has been with St. Francis for over 25 years, has cultivated an in-depth understanding of every Sonoma appellation, which he has used to acquire and develop the very best vineyards for the winery over the last several decades.
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 superlative Sonoma County grape growers that gives the winery access to some of the region's most coveted old vines Zinfandel grapes and other varietals from acclaimed vineyards including Rockpile Vineyard, Amman Ranch, Leras Ranch and the famous Pagani Ranch.
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-Zinfandel (all from old vines between 60 and 110 years old), Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon-St. Francis also produces a noteworthy Chardonnay. In 2005, St. Francis introduced RED a Sonoma County blend of Merlot, Cabernet, Zinfandel, Syrah and Grenache. The winery recently launched a new ultra premium line of varietal wines, Wild Oak; limited production varietal blends sourced from the best fruit from top vineyard sources in Sonoma County. The Wild Oak wines are hand-crafted in the small winery within the St. Francis Winery (a.k.a. Tom's Winery) and demonstrate St. Francis' most recent quality initiatives.
St. Francis' 35-year history has been one of constant evolution in pursuit of quality and innovation. A new, state-of-the-art winery and barrel building were built recently which along with the estate vineyards have dramatically enhanced St. Francis' winemaking capabilities as well as ensured its longstanding commitment to, and investment in, Sonoma County.
The grapes in our Sonoma County Old Vines Zinfandel come from vineyards in Russian River Valley, Sonoma Valley and Dry Creek Valley. These vines range in age from 55 to 100 years old, producing low yields of fruit with highly concentrated, intense flavors. All grapes are hand-harvested, gently de-stemmed and crushed before cold-soaking for three days to extract optimal color and flavor. The fruit is then inoculated with many different yeast strains to build complexity, then fermented in separate lots using a combination of pumpovers and delestage to soften tannins. Secondary malolactic fermentation occurs in 50% American and 50% French oak barrels - 25% of which are new.