St. Francis Winery & Vineyards is in Sonoma County. It was founded in 1971 by Joe Martin who planted 22 acres of Chardonnay and 60 acres of Merlot. Today the estate is part of the Kobrand conglomerate of wine and spirits companies. St. Francis now owns more than 415 acres in several appellations, including Sonoma and the Russian River Valley. St. Francis produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Claret, Merlot, Zinfandel and Chardonnay. The estate is especially well known for its old vines Zinfandel.
The Merlot grape is such a deep blue that it is named for the blackbird. It’s an early ripening grape and one of the primary varietals used In Bordeaux. Merlot is also grown in the "International style," which is harvested later to bring out more tannins and body.