Monday, October 26, 2015

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

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 recognition of its farm to table wine and food pairings offered on site to Winery visitors each day.

Under Chris’ leadership, St. Francis has also been recognized for its many green practices. A 457-kilowatt Solar Energy System, installed in 2004, provides up to 40% of the Winery’s energy from the sun. St. Francis has taken aggressive steps in water and creek conservation, recycling, eco-friendly packaging, and created an on-site sustainable vegetable garden to support its culinary programs. St. Francis is Certified Sustainable by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance.

Chris served on the Board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Sonoma County and is now on the Dean’s National Advisory Board of the UNLV Harrah College of Hotel Administration. In 2011 he was honored by UNLV as the “Food & Beverage Industry Executive of the Year” and was named “2011 Healthy Business Leader” by the Northern California Center for Well Being in recognition of his workforce wellness initiatives at St. Francis. North Bay Business Journal has repeatedly named St. Francis Winery & Vineyards one of the "Best Places to Work" in NorCal.

WWW.STFRANCISWINERY.COM


MARC MONDAVI – CHARLES KRUG

HISTORY
Now under the guidance of Peter Mondavi Sr., the Charles Krug Winery honors its roots while forging ahead to the future. From the Wild West to the twenty-first century, relatively crude beginnings gave way to the finest form of winemaking.

Founded in 1861 by Charles Krug, the 27-year old Prussian immigrant came to America with little besides willpower and a willingness to work hard to build the cornerstone of the first winery in the Napa Valley. He became the major local winery figure of his era, greatly influencing Napa Valley's development as a world-renown wine producing region.

His leadership was said to be inspirational and his ideas innovative. Charles Krug introduced the cider press for winemaking, the first of which is still on display at the winery. He carefully selected rootstocks, varietals and vineyard sites - a novel concept in late 19th century America.

After his death in 1892, James Moffitt held the winery in proprietorship through Prohibition. By 1943, he found a pioneering spirit in Cesare Mondavi, an Italian immigrant with a passion for wine, and sold the winery to his family for $75,000.

At 60 years old, Cesare Mondavi spearheaded a dramatic renaissance in the decade that followed. Wine historian Charles Sullivan writes in his book, Napa Wine, “By the early 1950s it was irrefutable that the Valley's Big Four had been augmented by one - the Charles Krug Winery”.

Cesare died in 1959 leaving Rosa as President with sons Robert as General Manager and Peter as Vice President. In 1966, Robert moved south to Oakville and began construction of his own winery. Upon Rosa's death in 1976, Peter became President of the winery.

Peter's industry innovations from his studies at Stanford and Berkeley included revolutionary research on cold fermentation, enabling the production of exceptionally crisp, fruity white wines. His pioneering efforts to plant vineyards in the Carneros region with chardonnay and pinot noir grapes, cold sterile filtration techniques and aging wine in small French oak barrels contributed to his being named one of the twelve “Living Legends” in 1999 by the Napa Valley Vintners Association.

Above all else, Charles Krug Winery is a family winery. Peter Sr. and his sons Marc and Peter Jr. continue their dedication to producing the finest Bordeaux style wines in the Napa Valley. To achieve this, they initiated a nine-year, $22 million investment program completed in 2010. Over 400 of the winery's 850 prime acres in Napa Valley have been re-planted and state-of-the-art winemaking equipment is now in use.

BIO
Marc Mondavi is the eldest son of Peter and Blanche Mondavi and grandson of Cesare and Rosa Mondavi, the Napa Valley pioneers who purchased the historic Charles Krug Winery in 1943. As co-proprietor with his brother Peter Jr., he works closely with their father, Peter Sr. on issues of strategic importance, including stewardship of all the winery's brands.

Marc was born in 1954 and raised on the winery property. He caught the family winemaking bug early in life, holding his first official winery position at age 10. For Marc, growing up on the Charles Krug property meant summers running around the winery, climbing in empty tanks, packing gift boxes and working in the vineyards. But it wasn’t until he became a teenager and started tasting wines with his father that Marc knew he was destined for the family wine business.

Marc studied viticulture and enology at the University of California, Davis, and marketing at California State University, Sacramento. He returned to the winery in 1978 after his studies, at which time he immersed himself in every aspect of winery operations. He worked with his father to further his knowledge of winemaking, and applied the expertise he had acquired at U.C. Davis to the winery's numerous vineyard holdings. During the mid-70s, Marc experimented with canopy management in the vineyards which greatly reduced losses from mildew and facilitated grape ripening.

Marc continues to spend much of his time in the vineyards, where he works with his brother Peter Jr. to oversee the family’s $25.6 million investment in their 850 acres of Napa Valley vineyard land with mostly noble Bordeaux varietals. “What we are looking for with the replants is more flavor and aromatics,” he said. “Most of the vineyards that were replanted are 32 to 36 years old and the new grape varieties are selectively tailored to the different soil profiles.” On the subject of maintaining their independence, Marc is adamant: “Family ownership gives us a different perspective on the winery. We are not corporate employers; we are the owners and have a hand in anything that impacts the final product.” Marc takes that philosophy on the road where his busy travel schedule combines winemaker dinners, sales meetings with the distributor network and chain meetings around the country.

He is a trustee and past secretary of the California Winery Workers' Pension Plan, a $300 million-plus pension fund, where he oversees investments. He also serves as Vice President of the Boone & Crockett Club, the oldest conservation group in America, started by Teddy Roosevelt in 1887. He is active in The Wine and Food Society of San Francisco and The Chaîne des Rôtisseurs. He has served on the boards of the Wine Institute, the California Wine Commission, as past president of the Winery Employers Association and logistics chairman for the Napa Valley Wine Auction in 1988 and 1989.

WWW.CHARLESKRUG.COM

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