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St. Francis Winery

Updated: Jan 12, 2023

Key Info

  • Nestled at the foot of Hood Mountain between Santa Rosa and Sonoma on Hwy 12.

  • The late Joe Martin founded St. Francis Winery.

  • He helped turn California Merlot into a household name.

  • More than 380 acres of Estate Vineyards in Sonoma and Russian River Valley.

  • Named after St. Francis of Assisi.

  • Patron saint and protector of animals and ecology.

  • St. Francis is believed to be the first to bring European grape cultivation to the New World.

  • A walk across the stone bridge entrance transports visitors back to California’s early days.

  • A statue of St Francis is located just before you reach the bell tower.

  • The bell tower is home to a 1,000 lb. bronze bell crafted in Italy.

  • Mission Style, spacious tasting room with tiled floors, large windows and cozy fireplace.

  • Shop in the well-stocked gift shop for wine related items and logo clothing.

  • Wine Tasting daily 10:00-5:00 pm.

  • $15pp fee waived with purchase of two bottles.

  • Walk-ins welcome.

  • Wine and Cheese Pairing: $25 pp daily

  • Self Guided Tour: offered daily, follow the station signs.

  • Estate Vineyard Tour and Tasting: $25 pp, Fri-Sun, 10:30 am. By appointment.

  • 5 Course Gourmet Lunch: $70 pp. Thurs-Monday.

  • By appointment: 11:00, 1:00 and 3:00. Plan for 1 ½ hours.

  • Chef selects ingredients from the 2 acre Estate Garden.

  • Farm to table experience.

  • Small plate servings with 5 wines.

  • Seated at a large round table in a private room.

  • Soft music playing and two wine educators to answer questions.

  • Leisurely pace.

  • Wines:

  • Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Claret, Malbec, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir, Port, Rose, Sauv Blanc, Syrah, Cuve Blanc

  • St. Francis Old Vine Zinfandel is a favorite of critics.

  • Average Price $45. Some at $17 or $22.

You May Not Know

  • Hard to believe a winery was voted best restaurant?!?!?!?!

  • It’s true.

  • Although St. Francis is not a traditional restaurant, guests experience an exceptional feast for the senses.

  • St. Francis is Zagat recommended for wine and food pairings.

  • For two years, 2013 and 2015, awarded St. Francis the nation’s number one restaurant.

  • Beating out restaurants in New York, San Francisco and Napa!

  • The irony of the award, there is NO restaurant at St Francis Winery,

  • Why? 16 guests sitting at a round table plus

  • 90 minutes of world class food, wine and conversation.

  • Winemaker:

  • Katie Madigan started as an intern at St Francis when she was 21.

  • 16 years later Katie continues to use her chemistry and wine making talents at St Francis.

  • She concentrates on Zinfandel and Chardonnay.

  • Best Woman Winemaker of the Year award by International Women’s Wine Competition.

  • Winemaker:

  • Chris Louton concentrates on the Bordeaux varietals

  • St Francis Winery was:

  • Named Zinfandel Producer of the Year 2014 and 2015

  • Awarded the California Green Medal Award in 2018.

  • Every year, in honor of founder Joe Martin, the tasting room is closed.

  • St. Francis employees spend this day giving back to the community.

  • This year they all worked at Sugerloaf Ridge State Park.

  • No wonder they received a Community medal for strong relationship with its employees and neighbors.

Sheila’s Recommendation

  • What a vibrant place!

  • I visited in the summer, on a Sunday, when they were mid-concert.

  • Dogs hanging out, people up and dancing with the band, happy kids frolicking, wine being poured.

  • I fortunately live only about 43 minutes away.

  • My friend and I both agreed…

  • The drive isn’t too bad. Why don’t we come here more often?

  • I will be back in October for their Blessing of the Animals event. Sonoma Wine Dog needs a good blessing.

  • After researching all of the rave reviews for their food and wine pairing, I will need to come back. Maybe as a Mother’s Day gift to my mom or a holiday treat.

  • The summer concerts and outdoor July film festival events look amazing too!

  • I made sure to follow St. Francis Winery on Facebook, so I can keep in the loop of their upcoming events.

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