Currently Searching for President & CEO

Title President & CEO
Company St. Francis Winery & Vineyards
Location Santa Rosa, CA
Job Information

In conjunction with the Cypress Group;


St. Francis Winery & Vineyards is a Sonoma County gem with a noteworthy history and well-earned reputation for excellence and quality in all it undertakes. The St. Francis Vineyard was started in 1971 by Sonoma pioneer Joe Martin, a San Francisco businessman who “sold it all” and started growing grapes on a hundred acre parcel with the distinction of planting the first 60 acres of Merlot in Sonoma Valley. In 1979 he and a partner Lloyd Canton built a winery and began making wine under the St. Francis Winery & Vineyards label developing a devoted following for Merlot and then Old Vine Zinfandel. In 1988 St. Francis partnered with the Kopf family, owners of Kobrand, Maison Louis Jadot, Domaine Carneros (in partnership with the Taittinger family) and Sequoia Grove among others, with the Kopf’s assuming 100% ownership in 2004. The original aligned commitment and vision to quality remains the guiding principle of St. Francis Winery & Vineyards.

Today, St. Francis maintains its leadership position in Sonoma and sustainably farms more than 380 acres. The winery owns three key vineyards – Behler Vineyard, the original St. Francis estate vineyard located in the northern Sonoma Valley floor, Lagomarsino Vineyard in Russian River Valley and Wild Oak Vineyard where the winery and tasting room are located. The winery produces approximately 250k cases depending upon vintage and maintains a robust wholesale presence represented by Kobrand. Wine quality is key and the wines have received numerous favorable scores of 90+ from key audiences. Key wines distributed through wholesale include largely Sonoma County Chardonnay, Cabernet, Zinfandel and Merlot. SRPs for these wines range from $17 – $22. Additionally, there is a limited production Reserve Tier series for Zinfandel, Cabernet and Merlot, garnering Robert Parker attention and high praise, scoring 94s and 95 points for the 2103 Merlot, Zinfandel and Cabernet respectively. Small releases of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir have also been more recently introduced. Kobrand counts among key distributors Young’s Market, RNDC, and Breakthru Beverage.

The estate is a Sonoma Valley standout featuring a picturesque and elegant property with breathtaking views of the Mayacamas and offering impressive consumer experiences including a wine and food-pairing program that earned the winery recognition as Open Table’s “Top Restaurant” nationally in 2013 and 2015 based on reviews from Open Table diners. In 2012, the winery planted a 2-acre Estate Garden, providing the Executive Chef access to fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs grown steps away from the kitchen. The experience is well received and is often booked months in advance. The wines featured in the tasting room are small production winery only offerings. St. Francis enjoys a robust and growing Direct to Consumer business with a healthy visitation and a large wine club following.

St. Francis has an enviable reputation and is known for its commitment to wine quality as well as its outstanding company culture. Fully empowered by ownership, the team is challenged to execute the business in a manner that promotes and enhances quality to produce the finest expression of the vintage and terroir, consistently producing luscious, elegant, fruit driven wines.


The President/CEO opportunity is a unique opportunity to elevate a business that is performing at a high level. This is a strategic and tactical role where the President/CEO will capitalize on strengths and assets of the business today, the agility and knowledge of ownership, the extremely solid financial footing, relationship with Kobrand, growth opportunity in DTC and further explore St. Francis’ untapped potential to shepherd the company to new heights of success and growth.

St. Francis Winery & Vineyards possesses an abundance of riches. A Sonoma Valley leader for over four decades, St. Francis produces annually 250k +/- cases of luscious, elegant, fruit driven wines utilizing much of its own fruit from 380 owned and farmed acres in addition to other sources. The wines are marketed and sold nationally and internationally by the impactful and industry leading Kobrand Corporation. The production of wine runs smoothly, and the facility is in great shape with permitting that allows for greater production capacity than is currently being utilized. The dynamic trio of two talented winemakers and adept vineyard manager play an active role in driving continuous improvement in wine quality, and the wines receive favorable ratings from key critical audiences. The Direct to Consumer program is anchored by the stunning St. Francis property and tasting venue, well trained team providing authentic and genuine hospitality, and an award-winning food and wine pairing experience. The wine club participation is robust and growing. The business is well funded, financially stable, profitable, and in 2016 the company delivered the best financial results to date. St. Francis also boasts a tremendous culture where employees are heard, valued, and morale is high with little turn over. The company is guided by its commitment to operating a values-based business where quality and ethics come first and success is not measured solely on the bottom line.

The ownership of St. Francis by the Kopf family markedly sets the business apart from other wine businesses as well. In addition to the local successes and assets, St. Francis is part of a greater global portfolio of wine estates, brands, vineyards and wine businesses wholly owned or in joint venture by the Kopf family including among others Kobrand, Maison Louis Jadot (with Louis Jadot, the new Louis Jadot Estate in Oregon, Domaine Ferret, Château des Jacques, Tonnellerie Cadus cooperage), Sequoia Grove, Foley Estates (Santa Barbara County in partnership with Bill Foley) and Domaine Carneros (in partnership with Taittinger). Also owned are brands Alizé and The Seeker and the Kopf family also has a partnership with UK distributor Hatch Mansfield. The family has a depth of knowledge and keen insight, honed over decades, about the wine business and the opportunities and challenges facing the business today. Ownership is nimble, and the business is run by an Executive Committee currently comprised of two key individuals who advise the family Board of Directors that includes the three daughters of founder Rudy Kopf, two spouses and a third generation family member. The Executive Committee and Board of Directors encourage the business leaders to bring forward new advances and approaches to keep the business outlook vibrant and up to date and act on the recommendations of these leaders as appropriate. This is a forward thinking organization, and as has been its history, there are numerous meaningful initiatives underway worldwide including the acquisition of wineries and vineyards, new brand development and the construction of new winery facilities and tasting venues. There is a comfort and willingness to invest and openness to new ideas.

The President/CEO will bring drive and engaging leadership in concert with premium/ultra premium wine business vision, marketing and sales expertise and operational know how to capitalize upon St. Francis’ success and optimize the tremendous assets and business potential. Assuming the leadership reins from Mr. Chris Silva, who ably and charismatically led the company for 13 years prior to his untimely death from illness, the new President/CEO will carry on the quality and excellence imperative that defines St. Francis. He/she will have the advantage to work with a sharp, dedicated team to create forward thinking strategic plans to ensure sustained achievement and growth while continuing to heighten the long term relevancy and prestige of the brand. The President/CEO will report to the Executive Committee who provides guidance and insight but is not directive regarding strategy and day-to-day operations.

The President/CEO and St. Francis team are responsible for local strategy to enhance brand image and maintain solid business metrics, winery operations, and all Direct to Consumer activities. Direct to Consumer has grown over the years, and there is continued opportunity to build the DTC business and drive profitability for St. Francis through this important channel. In wholesale, St. Francis is represented by Kobrand – whose portfolio of brands and resulting sales power in distribution and with buyers is extremely impressive. Kobrand is a tremendously important relationship to nurture and promote. The President/CEO along with the St. Francis team will work in concert with Kobrand leadership, marketing and sales teams to ensure the highest levels of communication and relationship to effectively manage continued growth and enhance brand awareness and demand in wholesale.

The chosen individual will play an integral role as the face of St. Francis both in the market and community. In concert with the winemakers, he/she will focus efforts on creating high visibility for the brand in the market. It is the ideal role for an individual who thrives and is energized by not only setting and executing strategy, providing leadership, and overseeing day-to-day operations but also working externally in front of different audiences continually inspiring and growing brand loyalty and advocacy. Along with the winemakers, the President/ CEO represents the brand with key stakeholders. He/she will work with Kobrand to determine the most effective way to influence these audiences and will travel extensively (6 – 8 weeks a year) in support of these efforts.

The President/CEO will lead a team of 80 fulltime employees with 8 direct reports. He/she will maintain his/her office at the St. Francis Winery and will report to the Executive Committee comprised of Mr. Tony Helies (also a Family Board member) and Mr. Richard Reitman who has provided strategic and financial guidance to the family for over 30 years.


The primary role of the CEO is to meet or exceed the revenue, profits, and other qualitative goals of St. Francis Winey & Vineyards. The President/CEO will provide overall leadership, tactical and strategic direction for the business. Key responsibilities will include working with the Executive Committee to create and drive business strategy and plans, managing the operations, leading the organization to achieve results, continuing to grow organization competence and capability, nurture culture, and monitor and measure performance. The CEO will develop and implement key operation, investment, direct sales and marketing strategies directed toward increasing growth and profitability, work in concert with Kobrand regarding National and Export strategies, and present recommendations to the Executive Committee Board for buy off and approval.

The President/CEO will

  • Provide continued leadership to the organization – promote company core values, mission and vision
  • Listen and get to know team leaders well and understand St. Francis current goals, culture and processes
  • Lead and manage the winery estate to ensure an effective and profitable operation poised for growth
  • Maintain the exceptional morale and closeness of team and positive relationship with Kobrand
  • Lead and collaborate with the Management Team in the development and execution of operational and strategic plans including direct to consumer and, working through Kobrand, national and export goals, as well as wine production, vineyard administration and other associated activities that ensures company wide adoption and achievement of strategic goals and plan
  • Lead the strategic planning process in a collaborative way that ensures goals are obtained
  • Build strong relationships with all teams to ensure accuracy and consistent flow of information, execution of procedures and performance of overall operations
  • Create long and short term budgets and capital plans and ensure these are met
  • Establish and monitor key performance indicators
  • Continue to develop a strong leadership team and in collaboration with the team promote buy in and clarity around strategic objectives in all areas of the company
  • Identify, hire and develop key individuals as needed
  • Lead the company in successfully executing against plans and goals to meet or exceed current financial and non-financial performance targets for the business
  • Develop and present to the executive committee short term and long term strategic goals and imperatives that further brand growth and recognition consistent with demand and quality image
  • Maintain accountability for accuracy in profit forecasts, budgets, DTC sales performance and liquidity targets
  • Ensure adherence to the highest quality standards in the production process that are aligned with brand objectives
  • Devise and implement projects that improve the commercial success of Francis Winery & Vineyards and enhance its brands
  • Ensure quality standards are of the highest order while controlling costs and spending
  • Manage performance of key staff annually to evaluate performance against specified targets linked to remuneration

Marketing and Distribution

  • Act as an ambassador and spokesperson, in conjunction Kobrand and with the St. Francis Winemakers, actively representing the winery to the outside world, including distributors, buyers, the local community, wine industry associations and consumers
  • Lead marketing and sales strategic planning in a collaborative manner with the Kobrand organization to ensure adoption and achievement of the plan including development of a plan to increase on premise sales
  • Ensure Francis is represented at national and international forums that improve wine sales, marketing and viticulture opportunities
  • Represent Francis with community groups, state government and local councils, and ensure positive networking with the wine industry and the local community
  • Continue to build the upscale image of the St. Francis brand consistent with the high quality and character of the wines and vineyards
  • Working collaboratively with Kobrand, marketing, PR and winemaking identify and build strategies resulting in greater critical acclaim by key audiences for wines

Direct to Consumer

  • Evaluate, build and execute strategies concentrated on continued optimization of the direct to consumer business resulting in increased customer loyalty and advocacy and increased revenues and profits
  • Collaboratively review and refine direct sales and marketing plans, encompassing hospitality, wine club and tasting room
  • Assure that all consumer and trade touch points accurately reflect St. Francis’ quality and image of excellence
  • Working with the DTC team create and execute initiatives that promote qualified visitation to the St. Francis and favorably drive wine club participation


  • Oversee and maintain responsibility for winery and vineyards operations ensuring that supply needs will be adequately met in conjunction with growth plans
  • In concert with the winemaking team develop and execute a timely, detailed budget that includes all production and case volume plans and work collaboratively to continue progress in vineyard development and enhanced wine quality
  • Oversee the management of all aspects of the production process and long and short term plans to ensure objectives are achieved including operational, maintenance and vineyard management plans and activities; quality, safety and environment; compliance; asset preservation of all locations; maximization of efficiency and inventory balancing
  • Participate in the review of wines, styles, pricing and make recommendations


Candidates will be evaluated on their track record in increasingly responsible leadership positions, wine industry knowledge and experience, and familiarity with how all aspects of the business contribute to business success. Professional experience ideally includes:

  • Prior experience as President / CEO, or other significant leadership position in the wine industry with demonstrable success acting as the face of a sizeable winery with press, trade, distributors, community, restaurants, etc.
  • Long standing experience in the wine industry, Sonoma experience a plus, with a focus on sales/marketing preferred
  • Skilled at managing relationships with partners such as growers and distributors with comfort and experience maintaining a moderate travel schedule
  • Experience with premium and ultra premium brands
  • Proven leadership qualities with track record of leading and motivating a first class team to achieve long term sustainable growth for the business
  • Deep understanding of premium brand winery operations and management with a track record of successfully growing a profitable brand or winery
  • Passion and understanding of wine as a product with good instincts and analytic thinking about the California wine marketplace
  • Demonstrated business acumen and an independent, entrepreneurial and hands-on approach (family owned business large institutionalized corporate environment)
  • Proven success in solid strategic planning with implementation ability
  • Demonstrated ability to manage strategic imperatives without disrupting company culture
  • Verifiable success in brand positioning with a demonstrated understanding of current competition, competitive climate and future market trends
  • Understanding and experience leading winemaking and vineyard teams
  • P&L responsibility with demonstrated operational savvy and strong bottom line orientation
  • Demonstrated ability to think creatively about market opportunities
  • Demonstrated ability to deal persuasively with key customers and vendors
  • Ideally, experience with a team and brand whose wines are receiving outstanding scores from critical audiences
  • Verifiable success building and developing well honed executive teams and demonstrated ability to hire well


Coupled with one’s experiences are the personal qualities and or expertise, which determine an individual’s ability to make an impact and to be credible with internal and external audiences:

  • Unquestionable degree of integrity in all of his/her business dealings
  • Creative and passionate about business and growing a meaningful business
  • Community minded and inspiring with the ability to establish a vision with a variety of audiences and instill trust in the organization
  • Passionate about wine quality with an inherent charisma and a sophisticated palate
  • Results oriented but focused to on achieving results in the right way
  • Supportive leader with humility and great people skills who is able to connect with people not just analytically write a SWOT plan
  • Persuasive, unflappable and comfortable working with Executive Committee and board of directors
  • Team oriented, participative style, with an ability to set aggressive objectives and steer the organization to meet them
  • Dynamic and polished personal style, highly articulate and at ease with presentation and public speaking skills; sophisticated yet unpretentious
  • Ability to think strategically and execute tactically; able to make hard decisions and defend those decisions
  • Flexible, quick to learn and adaptable, bringing creative new ideas and the personal power to implement them
  • Very well connected and respected within the wine business community and maintains a strong professional network
  • Effective verbal, presentation and written communicator


The successful candidate will receive a competitive base salary and will participate in all corporate incentive programs and will receive company benefits.


An undergraduate degree is essential. In addition, an MBA in finance or marketing would be an asset


Submit your resume to: resume(at)
©2010 The Van Riper Company | Contact | dcat~