Franciscan Estate was established in 1973 and began producing wines of true character from our Oakville estate in 1975. Only grapes of the highest quality are deemed worthy to wear the Franciscan Estate crest. We strive to create wines of the highest character and excellence in every vintage. This is what devotion to wines of true character is all about. It is in every bottle and embodied in our crest that has been a sign of excellence on our wines for over 40 years.
Our home estate is located in Oakville, right in the heart of the Napa Valley. Our 240-acre parcel of prized land features loamy, gravely, well-draining soil which adds great structure to our wines. Our location in the center of the Napa Valley allows our Bordeaux varietals to enjoy the cooling marine influences while still receiving plenty of sun and heat. When you combine our location with dry-farming techniques, the vines produce smaller, concentrated fruit, which builds wine of good structure, body, and texture. This optimal blend gives our fruit the ability to maintain its vibrancy and ripen to its full potential.
With this unique balance of terroir and climate we knew Oakville was the ideal place to start our legacy; this was confirmed in 1975 when the very first vintage of our Napa Valley Cabernet was released. The results spoke for themselves – this was a distinctive wine of character and place. It was the first vintage to be released that included fruit from the Oakville estate. This was prior to our esteemed neighbors Opus One, Swanson, Silver Oak, and Groth. Oakville had officially landed on the map as a powerhouse district for Napa Valley Reds and Franciscan Estate had helped blaze the trail to make it happen.
High-Craft, high-touch meticulous winemaking is at the core of everything we do. We are dedicated to exploring, developing, and mastering artisanal techniques to create the perfect glass of wine in every vintage. This constant drive for perfection defines all that we do.
Founding winemaker Justin Meyer wanted to understand the nuance of vineyard sites and how wine matured over time. He diligently laid out our estate vineyard into small blocks to capture the unique microclimates and soil changes. Each block was separately fermented and cellared. The wine was only blended once it had properly evolved. This small lot approach resulted in wines of unmistakable character that highlighted the nuances of every vineyard block and vintage.
This intensely personal approach to winemaking has permeated our culture. It's an ongoing pursuit toward perfection that always has our master winemakers close to the fruit, re-examining techniques, exploring new methods, and finding better ways to bring out the ultimate expression of the vineyard. Each winemaker confidently builds on the foundations of those who came before, adding their own unique flavor to the Franciscan legacy. This spirit has inspired all that we produce, from introducing wild yeast fermentation to being a pioneer in the Napa Valley for Bordeaux style blends; our unwavering devotion to the craft and dedication to the details has driven all that we have done and continue to do.