Women In Wine
Established by Bill Foley in 1996, Foley Family Wines is a portfolio of highly-acclaimed wines from some of the world’s greatest vineyards. Every brand in the company’s portfolio has a distinct style and legacy.
Two Women at the helm of Foley Family Winemaking:
Courtney Foley, Second Generation Vintner
Courtney has ten years of experience in the wine industry, holding roles in sales, production, winemaking, and distribution. Joking that she joined Foley Family Wines when she was born, Courtney now collaborates with site managers in all facets of the business to ensure the family vision and focus on sustainability and quality production are prioritized throughout the organization.
Sarah Quider, VP of Winemaking
Sarah joined Foley Family Wines in August of 2020. Her role as VP of winemaking is to support the winemakers at various wineries within the Foley profile by providing leadership, guidance and support to elevate the highly-acclaimed estate wines in the Foley Food and Wine Society. Prior to joining Foley Family Wines, Quider oversaw all the winemaking at three different facilities at Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery for 25 years.
Chalk Hill Chardonnay
Courtney Foley is 2nd Generation Vintner for Chalk Hill Winery, with a deep respect for the property and a keen understanding of its diverse and stunning vineyards.
Courtney brings a decade of experience in enology, viticulture, general management, and commercial sales understanding to Chalk Hill. Courtney led the winemaking and general management of Foley Sonoma Winery in Alexander Valley before dedicating her time to Chalk Hill.
Ferrari - Carano Fume Blanc
Although this isn't the Fume Blanc, I truly enjoyed drinking this new Ferrari-Carano wine when I was in Sonoma Valley this summer at their Vineyard.
Don and Rhonda Carano, natives of Reno, Nevada, and second generation Italian-Americans, founded Ferrari-Carano in 1981.
Don and Rhonda were introduced to the beauty of Northern Sonoma County in 1979 while searching for wines to enhance the wine lists at the Eldorado, their hotel casino in Reno.
They eventually purchased a 60-acre parcel in the Alexander Valley, and realizing the potential for the area, began to acquire additional vineyard land. Ground was broken for Ferrari-Carano Winery in Dry Creek Valley in 1985. The first wines bearing the Ferrari-Carano label were released in 1987. Those first wines were a 1986 Fumé Blanc and a 1985 Alexander Valley Chardonnay.
Today, owned by Bill and Carol Foley since 2019, Ferrari-Carano still produces the Fumé Blanc and Chardonnay as well as over 20 other white and red wines.
NATALIE WEST, WINEMAKER, WHITE WINES
“Dedicated to our white wines program, I value the ability to focus on the two varietals that were also the first wines that Ferrari-Carano made. Our Fume Blanc and Chardonnay are crafted with intention, to reflect our vineyard sites while maintaining the consistency Ferrari-Carano is known for.”
Growing up on a small family vineyard in Dry Creek Valley, Natalie spent time helping tend to the vines and learned from a young age her love of vineyards and the wine industry.
After earning a degree in Viticulture and Enology from UC Davis a Natalie worked several internships that led her to New Zealand, San Martin, Russian River Valley, and Alexander Valley where she joined Ferrari-Carano in 2005 as an Enologist at the Prevail winery. Natalie became Assistant Winemaker for Ferrari-Carano red wines, and most recently was brought to the Estate winery in Dry Creek Valley to oversee the Ferrari-Carano white wine production.
Banchee Pinot Noir
Banshee Wines started in 2009 at a bar in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco. With money borrowed from friends and family, Banshee Wines was launched with eight barrels of coveted Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. Our initial intent was to make wines that tasted like the best California had to offer, but were priced so that everyone could enjoy them.
After a few years, we migrated up to the small but bustling town of Healdsburg, in the heart of Sonoma County. From here, we’ve developed strong relationships with the owners and growers of some of the best and most coveted vineyards in Sonoma, working in lock step with them to produce wines of depth, purity and balance. We strive to makes wines with the complexity and deliciousness of those found at the very top of the quality and price scale, but at a price that is affordable for everyone and not just the uber-wealthy.
Alicia Sylvester, Winemaker
Raised on her family’s almond farm in California’s Central Valley, Alicia Sylvester’s strong work ethic and love of agriculture was cultivated at a young age. “Harvest time has always held a special significance in my family.” She fondly remembers spending time as a child following the picking crew with her red wagon on her family owned 20-acre Zinfandel vineyard. Having this connection with grapes from childhood is what sparked the seed of interest for the world of wine.
As of January 2021, Alicia now crafts site-specific, authentic wines for Banshee, with a focus on Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, that are true to style and character, on which Banshee Wines has built its reputation.
St. Francis Winery
Silverado Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
A gem in the heart of Stags Leap District, Silverado Vineyards has embarked on its fourth decade of producing estate-grown, produced, and bottled fine wines. Silverado Vineyard was one of the first four in Stags Leap District to plant Cabernet in the 1960s.
Alison Crary Rodriguez, Head Winemaker, Silverado Vineyards
Foley Family Wines,, announced the appointment of Alison Crary Rodriguez as winemaker for Silverado Vineyards. Foley Family Wines acquired the Napa Valley winery and estate in July 2022, expanding the company’s luxury wine portfolio of iconic properties.
In her new role, Rodriguez will craft Silverado Vineyard’s flagship single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon wines such as GEO and SOLO, while expanding production of the core wines and developing new offerings for both club and Foley Food and Wine Society members.
“I am humbled to become part of a winery with worldwide renown that set the bar for Napa Valley,” Rodriguez commented. “Taking the helm includes equal parts admiration for the legacy established by the Disney-Miller family and excitement for a fresh take on all that our estate vineyards have to offer.”
St. Francis Winery
For over 50-years, St. Francis Winery & Vineyards has defined Sonoma County excellence by producing award-winning wines of the highest caliber from mountain and valley vineyards throughout the region. As a 100% Certifed Sustainable winery, we are committed to nurturing and preserving the splendor of our natural environment for future generations to enjoy.
Katie Madigan, WINEMAKER
A key member of St. Francis Winery’s production and winemaking team since 2002, Katie Madigan became a St. Francis Winemaker in 2011.
For Katie, winemaking is the perfect combination of science and creativity. A chemistry major at UC Santa Barbara, she joined St. Francis as a harvest intern. After working long hours for four months, doing everything from lab work to vineyard visits, she was hooked. “I loved the fast pace and diversity of the job,” she says. “I didn’t want to leave at the end of every day.”
As a St. Francis Winemaker, Katie continues St. Francis’ long tradition of creating high-quality wines from Sonoma County grapes. She oversees production of St. Francis Winery’s top-selling Zinfandels, Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays as well as many of our other popular white wines. In 2015, Katie was awarded “Best Woman Winemaker” by the International Women’s Wine Competition. She also won Zinfandel Producer of the Year in 2014 and 2015 at the California Zinfandel Championship.
St. Francis Winery
Kathryn Hall ~ Since first working in her family’s Mendocino vineyards, she dreamed of a place to showcase fine wines alongside expressive art and masterful architecture. Now, Kathryn and Craig Hall are creating an unrivaled destination in the Napa Valley - where winemaking excellence and innovation meets contemporary design to celebrate life and inspire the senses.
HALL’s estate vineyards encompass more than 500 acres of classic Bordeaux varietals; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc. As winegrowers, the Halls have a strong respect for the environment and a commitment to cutting-edge vineyard technology to yield the highest quality grapes. Through meticulous attention to detail in the vineyards, HALL wines are able to express the unique and diverse character of Napa Valley’s soils and climate. Under the artisan-ship of winemaker Megan Gunderson, HALL Wines continue to set new heights in Napa Valley winemaking.
Megan Gunderson, Vice President of Winemaking
In 2005, Megan joined HALL Wines as Enologist and quickly rose through the ranks with increasingly central roles within the winemaking operation. In 2018, Megan was promoted to Vice President of Winemaking, leading the wine program for the three, family-owned luxury brands, HALL, WALT and BACA Wines. Her multiple degrees in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics have given her a unique and unmatched perspective into the scientific aspects of winemaking.
When we set out to create BACA, we had one mission in mind: to make luxury, craft Zinfandels that are nuanced, honest, and current. Wine for people like us: the curious, the adventuresome, the lovers of life, with a gleam in their eye and a penchant for the uncharted.
BACA is Latin for berry, so that’s where we started. Bounding headlong into some of California’s most noted growing regions—Calistoga, Russian River, Rockpile, Howell Mountain, and Paso Robles—we sourced the most intriguing fruit for our wines. Grapes from gorgeously old vines and historic areas, which we transformed using masterful winemaking techniques into wines that reflect the unique places in which they’re grown. The result is 8 complex, charismatic Zinfandels, and a few other delectable curveballs. All of which pair beautifully well with both food and adventure.
Jennifer Brown, Vintner, BACA Wines
Jennifer Brown is the Vintner of BACA Wines, a modern wine brand focused on heritage vineyards, by the makers of HALL & WALT Wines. Jennifer leads marketing, operations and sales for the recently launched luxury wine brand based in Healdsburg, California. Prior to working at HALL, WALT and BACA Wines, Jennifer was the founder of Omghow/Girl Karma Inc., a social platform and positive destination for teen girls. Jennifer grew up in the wine industry and is the daughter of Vintner Kathryn Walt Hall.
"My parents, Bob and Dolores Walt, were dedicated winegrowers who loved the land and each other. Our family produced six different varietals that we sold to several great wineries. For my parents, growing grapes was a shared family vision—a view of well cared for vines out the kitchen window, starting early in the day doing what you really love, the satisfaction of a hard day’s work, the feeling of peace walking through the vineyard before sunset.
When I was away I missed our vineyard terribly and longed to be home working with my family. So, I was happy to be able to manage the vineyard operations from 1982 until 1992. My parents passed away many years ago, but they remain forever my inspiration for growing grapes and making wine. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of their love of the earth or passion for the vines.
I just love these wines. At WALT we have an amazing and dedicated winemaking team, a state-of-the-art winemaking facility, a passionate winery staff, and strong relationships with extraordinary vineyard partners. What a combination!" ~ Kathryn Hall
Alison Frichtl Hollister, Senior Winemaker
In 2008 Alison joined HALL wines as Enologist and has grown with the brand. In 2012 she was promoted to Assistant Winemaker. In 2016, the Halls proposed making Zinfandel. Alison was up for the challenge and was promoted to Head Winemaker for BACA Zinfandel. Starting in 2020 Alison has taken on the role of Senior Winemaker for the HALL Family of Wines. As she continues her central role in crafting the HALL collection, she has added WALT Pinot Noir to her personal portfolio as Head Winemaker.