Previously Stryker Sonoma, the vision and creativity are inspired by the vineyards and countryside surrounding the Estate. Purchased by Bill Foley in 2016 and rebranded to Foley Sonoma, Foley Sonoma wines mix old-world tradition and modern technology to allow for gentler handling of both fruit and wine. Our winemaking philosophy is about pure varietal expression which produces award winning, balanced wines rich in fruit and deep in character. The Vineyards produce 4,000 to 6,000 cases annually from the following varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Sangiovese, Sémillon, Tannat, and Zinfandel. Guests visiting the winery today can watch the winemaking process in action, viewing barrels as they are racked in the aging cellar and step onto the observation deck to see how grapes enter the crush pad for sorting and de-stemming. Designed by Nielsen Schuh Architects, the inspiration was to create buildings that are aesthetically beautiful, sensitive to the environment and in harmony with the landscape. The state of the art modern facility was specifically designed to create small lots of ultra-premium luxury wines from the Estate Vineyard. The building won the Architectural Design Award for Northern California by AIA. Ever since, the Tasting Room has been open to the public daily 10:30 to 5:00 p.m. and is focused on extending a wine country experience that is truly “Quintessential Alexander Valley”. We are few, so to ensure quality we make wine in small amounts from our estate. We enjoy diversity, so we make our wines from a number of varieties. We embrace life, so we share our love of living with those who join us either for a day or for a lifetime. Our philosophy is reflected in the design of our winery and approach to winemaking. Bold but thoughtful. A blend of traditional and modern. Efficient, but lively and spirited. Our wines, we hope, embody our hard work, attention to detail and the joy we take in making them. We are all a bit free-spirited by nature. Conventional rules, devoid of understanding or heart, hold no appeal for us. Guided by youthful enthusiasm and tireless dedication, we produce balanced wines high in quality, rich in fruit, and deep in character.
Nestled on a gentle knoll shadowed by the nearby Mayacamas Mountains, the site of Foley Sonoma typifies the peaceful, serene beauty of the Alexander Valley in the world renowned Sonoma County, just eighty miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge.
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Food and wine have always been a big part of Courtney’s life. When she was just 12 years old her dad founded Foley Estates and then Lincourt Vineyards, a tribute to both her and her older sister, Lindsay. Her uncle was the vineyard farmer and her grandparents lived on the Foley Estates property, giving her a great sense of connection to the vineyards and winery. Courtney loved the Foley Estates property and her family’s commitment to crafting great wines.
When it was time to decide on a college, she chose Whitman in Walla Walla, Washington, an up-and-coming wine region. There, she majored in history and geology and then set off to law school at the University of Oregon. Upon completion of her courses, however, her passion for wine and food made her decide to pursue work in the wine industry rather than practice law. She began selling wine for Foley Family Wines beginning in the chains and grocery stores and working her way up to restaurants. Alas, Courtney realized what she truly wanted to do. “I love being out in nature and walking the vineyards and felt winemaking would be a great career choice for me,” says Foley. Courtney then began studying at Fresno State and received a degree in Enology. She worked under winemaker Leslie Renaud at Lincourt and Foley Estates and soon made her way to Sonoma County where she again found herself working alongside Renaud at Roth Estate in Healdsburg.
For the opportunity to head up winemaking at Foley Sonoma, Foley is excited. “This is such a beautiful property with stunning architecture and a modern facility that still blends into the natural surrounding elements,” she says. Courtney enjoys the early mornings at Foley Sonoma where it is peaceful and the fog floats in the vineyards.
When she is not making wine, Courtney enjoys cooking, dancing, camping, kayaking and backpacking. In addition, she loves hiking with her two dogs, Fritz and Penney, listening to classic rock, and rooting for her University of Oregon Ducks. She loves travelling to Oregon and New Zealand and hopes to one day travel the country in an RV.
Practices & Techniques
The wines of FoleySonoma are truly handcrafted, making use of both old-world traditional methods and the judicious integration of modern tools designed to allow for gentler handling of both fruit and wine. Our approach is sometimes risky, but the resulting bold, forward style is what we like to drink and we have found a growing following that also appreciates these wines.
The focus of our winemaking efforts is centered around the Cabernet family of varietals. Nonetheless, we also have a keen interest in Zinfandel and Chardonnay. Our annual production is roughly 4,000 to 6,000 cases, consisting of many small lots averaging in size from 200 to 400 cases each.
Estate Vineyards / AVA
Cabernet Sauvignon plantings comprise five and a half acres divided among five distinct blocks ranging from valley floor to western facing slopes. Our second largest block is five acres of Merlot planted on the sandy loam soils of the Russian River. The remaining three noble varietals, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot blocks are all an acre or less and produce exceptional single varietal wines.
We are fortunate enough to be the stewards of a two acre block of Zinfandel that was planted in 1913. This treasure ignited our passion for making delightfully complex and expressive single block Zinfandel wine and is the inspiration for the two additional blocks of Zinfandel on our estate, the two acre head-pruned block surrounding the Estate Residence and the one acre East Block. Five and a half acres of Chardonnay are the beneficiaries of the well drained soils close to the Russian River and our plantings are rounded out by a one acre block of Tannat.