Franciscan’s cascading fountain stands in front of the hospitality, tasting and wine exploration center just off Napa's Route 29. Inside the slate-roofed buildings there are numerous opportunities to learn about grapes, wine and wine tasting.
Their luxurious tasting room, with its stainless-steel tasting counter, attractive wood display cases and soaring cathedral ceilings provides an elegant environment in which to enjoy their wines. A warm fireplace, a sunny patio and private tasting areas complete the experience.
Try their “Taste Exploration Series” and explore wine from the vineyard to the bottle. Private tastings led by a knowledgeable staff member can also enhance your visit. Franciscan also offers seminars, including “The Art of the Blend” program where you get to play winemaker, creating your own blend with five classic Bordeaux varietals ($30). Or try their Sensory Evaluation Seminar to taste wines like a professional, identifying each wine's signature aromas.
The philosophy at Franciscan is that great wines are a reflection of their terroir - the combination of soil, topography, microclimate and people that makes each site unique. Vintner Chairman Agustin Huneeus has said that “It's more the place than the variety that determines a wine's character."
The winery owns 240 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc vineyards at their Franciscan Oakville Estate. The well-drained gravel and loam soils are cooled by evening and early-morning fogs that inch northward from San Francisco Bay, then are sufficiently warmed by midday sunshine to slowly and evenly mature the grapes. The winery blends its finished wines to create just the right mix of flavors, tannins, and terroir. Wines produced include Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, white and red blends, and a port.