St. Francis Winery's commitment to intensely flavored and complex wines begins in the vineyard. It is for that reason we chose Sonoma County—with its rich variety of interwoven soils, elevations and microclimates—to be our home. With more than 400 acres of Estate Vineyards in Sonoma Valley and Russian River Valley, we create wines of character and distinction that pay tribute to Sonoma County's heritage as one of the world's premier grape growing regions.
This is the original St. Francis estate vineyard, called Behler Vineyard to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the planting of the vines by Will Behler, one of Sonoma Valley's agricultural pioneers. Our founder Joe Martin purchased the vineyard in 1971. Located in the northern Sonoma Valley floor and bordered on two sides by Sonoma Creek, the soil profile is loam and gravel. The climate is moderated by both the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay. It is a cool growing region ideal for both Chardonnay and Merlot.
Extending East from the Russian River Valley floor to the rolling hills, this vineyard experiences moderate temperatures and excellent West/Southwest exposure. Chardonnay is planted in loam and clay soil in the coolest area, at the river flood plain. Midway up, in a warmer region, Cabernet Franc is planted in upland gravel and loam soil. Toward the top of the property with excellent western exposure, Cabernet Sauvignon thrives.
This vineyard is the site of our Winery and Tasting Room, located at the base of majestic Sugarloaf Ridge and Hood Mountain. The rock and gravel that has washed down over the centuries provide an ideal soil for small yields of concentrated fruit. The weather is moderated by the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco Bay.