What's Cookin' on Wine with Michael Horn

10/26 CHRISTOPHER SILA, ST. FRANCIS WINERY & VINEYARDS, MARC MONDAVI, CHARLES KRUG

October 30, 201552 min
CHRISTOPHER SILVA - CEO AT ST. FRANCIS WINERY & VINEYARDS For more than four decades, the wines of St. Francis Winery & Vineyards have reflected the finest mountain and valley vineyards in Sonoma County. Our founder, Joe Martin, fell in love with Sonoma Valley and established St. Francis Vineyard in 1971, planting 22 acres of Chardonnay and the first 60 acres of Merlot in Sonoma Valley. After achieving great success as a grower, Joe opened his own winery in 1979 with his business partner Lloyd Canton. Our first winemaker, Tom Mackey, joined St. Francis in 1983 and was renowned for elevating both the quality and style of Sonoma Merlot as an ultra-premium, stand-alone varietal. He also cultivated an in-depth understanding of every Sonoma appellation, enabling us to acquire and develop new vineyards and expand our wine portfolio. In 1988 St. Francis partnered with the Kopf family, long admired for their historic family legacy in the wine and spirits industry and a commitment to quality. That legacy began in 1933 upon the repeal of prohibition when Rudy Kopf founded the wine and spirits department of Macy’s Department Store in New York, turning it into what was then one of the finest wine and spirits retailers in the country. He later established his own wine and spirits company, now owned by his three daughters. Today, a new generation of winemakers, Katie Madigan and Chris Louton, continues our long tradition of luscious, elegant, fruit-driven wines from Sonoma County grapes.  We farm more than 400 acres of Certified Sustainable estate vineyards in Sonoma Valley and Russian River Valley, each with varying compositions of loam, clay and volcanic soils. We also nurture long-term relationships with top Sonoma County grape growers, giving the Winery access to some of the region's most coveted old vines Zinfandel and other varietals from acclaimed vineyards. St. Francis is a Certified Sustainable, family-owned Winery, and we have worked throughout our 42-year history to preserve Sonoma County’s natural resources. The state-of-the art Winery we built in 1999 includes a 457-kilowatt solar energy system, and we have been recognized for our work to conserve nearby creeks and waterways. Preserving Sonoma County for future generations is very much a part of who we are, what we do, and how we run our business. Our commitment to showcase the best of Sonoma extends to our Tasting Room, which pairs our award-winning wines with the most breathtaking view in Sonoma Valley, and to our ZAGAT-recommended Wine & Food Pairing, which has earned worldwide praise from legions of fans and was voted "#1 in America" in 2013 by Open Table diners. In 2012 we planted a 2-acre Estate Garden, giving our chef access to fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs grown steps away from our kitchen, and giving our guests an unforgettable, farm-to-table Wine & Food Pairing experience in the heart of Sonoma Valley. BIO: A fifth-generation Sonoma County native, Christopher Silva is firmly rooted in Sonoma County agriculture. He was raised in a family of Petaluma dairy farmers, and nine years after graduating from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, he retired from practicing law to join St. Francis Winery. At the age of 38, he became President & CEO of St. Francis in 2003. He understands firsthand that a farmer’s footprint and intimate knowledge of the soil, microclimates and terroir of the region are the most important ingredients for healthy vines. As President & CEO of St. Francis Winery & Vineyards, Chris has a specific focus: crafting world class Sonoma wine. St. Francis is best known for luscious, elegant, fruit driven Sonoma County Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and “Old Vines” Zinfandel. Widely awarded as a quality leader, St. Francis is committed to being the premier producer of handcrafted Sonoma wines in each of its categories.  Additionally, St. Francis was named “#1 Restaurant in America” by OpenTable  in 2013 in re

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