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The Society BLOG

Together, wine, food, and travel make up three of life's greatest offerings. The Society Blog will feature expert experiences and opinions relating to these delicious topics. Here, we will freely discuss the diverse flavors of food, the inviting culture of wine, the vast nature of travel, and the ultimate experience you get when you combine the three!

The Society
November 21, 2017 | The Society

2014 Lancaster Estate Cab Earns Spot on Wine Spectator Top 100 List

Lancaster Estate

The 2014 Lancaster Estate Cab has been awarded one of the highest honors in the world of wine, a spot on the Wine Spectator 2017 Top 100 list, announced Monday. The ‘14 Cab, rated 94 points by the Wine Spectator, comes in at No. 86 on this year’s list.

Wine Spectator’s James Laube described it as…

“A big, rich Cabernet, with firm, structured tannins that are powerful and edgy, framing the core of blackberry, black cherry, plum and espresso flavors. An impressive effort. Best from 2019 through 2029. 4,075 cases made.”

When asked about the 2014 Vintage, Lancaster Estates Winemaker David Drake said, “I think it is just the perfect representation of what this property is capable of, in a good vintage, and apparently the ‘14 was a good vintage. The growing conditions were just ideal. It’s not what I did, it is what the property did, I just didn’t mess it up. We did all the same stuff we do every year, we didn’t do anything different. We did it the way we do everything.”

A veteran of Lancaster Estates for twenty years, no one knows what the terroir is capable of better than Drake. Fellow Foley Family Winemaker Steve Nelson (Chalk Hill Estate) has no problem parading his accolades. “I think David Drake is an incredible Winemaker, and he is definitely the most interesting man in the room,” said Nelson. “I think the 2014 is phenomenal. It walks that tightrope between power and elegance, which is the mark of a great cabernet. It’s really challenging to make a cabernet that has all that density, packed with tannin, color and flavor, and still have it come off smooth and seamless on the palate.”

Foley Family Wines Master Sommelier Robert Smith offered his take on the honor, telling Foley Food & Wine Society, “The 2014 Lancaster Estate is a reflection of the Estate. Beautiful, reserved, slightly tucked in, hidden and shy in the beginning; but somehow stands out when you give it some air. It is strikingly beautiful and strong, but profoundly elegant, and shows her true nature with expressive manner. David Drake understands and translates this natural approach to what Lancaster delivers from the land to the wine. This is a wine that everyone wants to get their hands on. It shows depth and concentration.”

This is the second time a Foley Family wine has been awarded a place on the Top 100 list. The 2005 Merus Cabernet Sauvignon, which made an appearance in 2008 at No. 95, was the first.

Click here to buy your own case of the 2014 Lancaster Estate Cabernet today and take advantage of our special discounted shipping. For a limited time, only $10 shipping on orders of 1-11 bottles, 1¢ shipping on 12 bottles or more, when you buy direct from the Foley Food & Wine Society Exchange.

To learn more about the 2014 Lancaster Estate Cabernet and other Foley Family Wines, visit

Time Posted: Nov 21, 2017 at 8:00 AM
The Society
October 20, 2017 | The Society

Wildfires Update


SANTA ROSA, Calif., (October 20, 2017) – Foley Family Charitable Foundation and Foley Family Wines announced today a donation of $225,000 in support of the communities recently devastated by the Northern California wine country fires. $225,000 will be divided among the Community Foundation Sonoma County (Sonoma County Resilience Fund), the Napa Valley Community Foundation (Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund), and the Sonoma County Grape Growers Foundation (Housing Support for Ag Workers Displaced by Fires Fund). The Foley Family Charitable Foundation has also set up a Go Fund Me account to support those affected by fires in the community. Employee contributions to this fund will also be matched up to $75,000.

“We are deeply saddened by the destruction and devastation we see all around us, and our hearts go out to our wine country community. Our first priority is the safety and support of our employees who have been deeply affected by the fires. We remain hopeful as we combine efforts with our neighbors, to support victims displaced by these fires and rebuild. We know that our contributions are going to three conscientious charities that will put relief money to work in the areas they’re needed most,” said Bill Foley.

In addition, on Sunday, October 22nd at Santa Rosa Junior College’s Culinary Arts Center parking lot (1700 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa) the Foley Family Wines culinary team will share 500 meals in support of Sonoma Family Meal, an organization spearheaded by The Press Democrat and Bite Club’s Heather Irwin. The organization is helping to bring meals from local chefs to families in the affected communities who need a helping hand to feed extra family and friends affected by the fires.

Sonoma and Napa winery tasting rooms; Chalk Hill Estate, Foley Johnson, Foley Sonoma, Kuleto, Lancaster, Merus, Roth Estate, and Sebastiani will resume normal tasting room hours beginning this Saturday, October 21st .

“We invite you to help strengthen our devastated winery community by choosing Sonoma and Napa wines,” said Foley.

About Foley Family Wines –
Foley Family Wines was established by Bill Foley in 1996 with the acquisition of Lincourt Vineyards in California’s Santa Ynez Valley. Since then, Foley Family Wines has grown to become a major producer, marketer and distributor of highly-acclaimed, handmade wines from some of the world’s greatest vineyards. Every brand in the company’s portfolio is distinct and autonomous with its own identity, style, techniques and personnel. Foley Family Wines owns the following properties: Foley Sonoma (Geyserville, CA), Chalone Vineyards (Monterey, CA), Foley Estates (Sta. Rita Hills, CA), Lincourt Vineyards (Solvang, CA), Merus (Napa Valley, CA), Foley Johnson (Napa Valley, CA), Kuleto (Napa Valley, CA), Altvs (Napa, CA), Chalk Hill (Sonoma County, CA), Sebastiani (Sonoma County, CA), Lancaster Estate (Sonoma County, CA), Langtry Estate (Lake County, CA), Three Rivers Winery (Walla Walla, WA), Firestone Vineyard (Santa Ynez Valley, CA), Eos (Paso Robles, CA), Roth Estate (Sonoma County, CA), The Four Graces (Dundee, OR) Vavasour (Marlborough, New Zealand), Clifford Bay (Marlborough, New Zealand), Grove Mill (Marlborough, New Zealand) Martinborough Vineyard (Martinborough, New Zealand) and Te Kairanga (Martinborough, New Zealand). Bill Foley is the majority owner of National Hockey League team, the Vegas Golden Knights (Las Vegas, NV). He also serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for Fidelity National Inc. and Vice Chairman of Fidelity National Information Services. Both are Fortune 500 companies.

Time Posted: Oct 20, 2017 at 2:05 PM
Robert Smith
March 9, 2017 | Robert Smith

St. Paddy's Day - 90+ Point Food & Wine Pairings

St. Paddy’s Day

This holiday is celebrated every year on March 17th, honoring the Irish Patron Saint, St. Patrick. The celebrations are largely Irish culture themed and typically consist of wearing green, parades, all things Irish-from Leprechauns & Shamrocks, Corned Beef & Cabbage to the Color Green and Green Beer; and I mean Lots of Green Beer and even more so,  Irish Whiskey -but for me- Just Wine– I let everyone else enjoy the green beer….

So I thought I would take a moment to talk about St Patrick’s traditions and what St. Patrick’s means to me. St. Paddy’s has almost always involved time spent with friends and family, in taverns, restaurants and even street parties

Now, it is hard to avoid the obvious on St Paddy’s Day-Green Beer and Whiskey which are the usual suspects; however, here are some alternate choices that I will be thinking of when pairing wines to traditional Irish Fare…

What do you get when you cross a bottle of wine with a four-leaf clover?  
A rash of good luck-

St Patricks Day Master Sommelier 90+ Point Food and Wine Pairings

White Wines

Food & Wine Pairings

…if you are planning on Smoked Salmon and Soda Bread - try 2014 Chalone Vineyard Estate Chenin Blanc…tangerine pith, lime, honeycomb, with tones of chalk and river rock minerality… amazing citrus backbone fuses beautifully with the Salmon posing cleansing and refreshing notes…

…having Colcannon (mashed potatoes with kale –mmm) as a side dish - try 2013 Foley Chardonnay, Rancho Santa Rosa, Sta. Rita Hills - …nuances of orange blossom, linden, and honeysuckle & soft oak notes linger on the with nutmeg, vanilla and toasted pecans rounds beautifully.

Boiled Bacon & Cabbage in mind? Amazing with 2014 Chalk Hill Estate Sauvignon Gris. …pink grapefruit, kaffir lime, gardenia blossoms, -with Meyer lemon, white pepper and fresh picked vanilla bean

…if you are in the mood for Cockle & Mussel Chowder, try it with a bottle of 2012 Chalone Vineyard Estate Chardonnay - …orchard tones of pear, apple and quince with lemon zest and brioche completes the frame, whilst the citrus expresses the complex minerality and precise acidity landscape-

Red Wines

Food & Wine Pairings

2014 Two Sisters Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills - …cocoa dusted cherries, candied raspberries alongside blueberries and cranberries rounding with espresso, tobacco and slight herbal notes …is outstanding with Corned Beef Cabbage Turnovers – flaky crust and corned beef –amazing!

2013 Chalk Hill Estate Pinot Noir - …dark and red fruits of black cherry, raspberry, pomegranate alongside rose petals and mocha …Irish Pasties are savory roast beef and potato filled pastries - balanced by the depth of the Pinot’s fruit.

2012 Kuleto Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley - …elevated aromatics and densely flavored fresh blackberry, cracked black pepper, violets and fresh thyme dominate …has more than enough depth, fruit and body to elevate the cozy classic Shepherd’s Pie ; we should take more advantage of this combination.

2014 Guenoc Victorian Claret, North Coast … Black cherry jam, black currant, clove spice, Earl Gray tea, hints of baking spice & cocoa, leather and wet tobacco rounding the fine tannins… …loving me some Irish Lamb Stew-broad shoulders and fruit is mind-blowing with this filling dish…

Time Posted: Mar 9, 2017 at 1:01 PM
The Society
April 4, 2016 | The Society

Seasonal Edible Flowers

Brad Agerter, Chalk Hill Estate’s Garden Guru, collected a sample of blossoms from the garden for us to try – from the photo starting with the bowl on the left and moving clockwise, we have the white blossoms of the Fava Bean plant as well as the purple flowers from the plant, commonly known as Society Garlic.

Fava Blossom
The flavor profile of the Fava Blossom mirrors that of the fava bean itself, making it an excellent addition to a salad mix.

Society Garlic Flower
The Society Garlic Flower has an aroma and taste comparable to garlic and makes an appealing garnish to any dish.

Moving on to the right is one of Brad’s favorites, the white flowers of the Arugula plant. Though not widely known, these flowers are edible, similar to their leafy counterparts.  They share the same nutty and peppery flavors contribute extra flavor and flair to a dish.  

Viola Flowers
Next up, we have the Viola Flowers, otherwise known as Johnny Jump Ups. These delightful little flowers add colorful garnish to any dish and make a charming addition to cocktails.

Periwinkle Borage Blossom
Finally, we have the Periwinkle Borage Blossom. Traditionally cultivated for culinary and medicinal uses, the Borage flower is now commonly used to produce oilseed.  With its zesty cucumber-melon flavor, Borage can be used to flavor and embellish water on warm spring days.

As you see the flowers begin to bloom, remember there are so many edible flower options out there to decorate your plate and excite your taste buds.

Time Posted: Apr 4, 2016 at 8:59 AM
The Society
July 2, 2015 | The Society

Roth Caves Grand Opening

Thank you to everyone that attended the grand opening of our new Cave at Roth Estate! We celebrated in style with Roth wines and delicious fare prepared by Chef Shane McAnelly of Chalkboard Restaurant! Bill and Carol Foley were in attendance and cut the ribbon to welcome everyone into the Cave. If you didn't make it to the event, we would like to invite you to come by and experience it for yourself!


Time Posted: Jul 2, 2015 at 12:53 PM
The Society
August 4, 2014 | The Society

Napa to Sonoma: Post-Race Recap from Dave Lattin

Race day finally arrived on Sunday, July 20th as team captain Dave Lattin and the rest of our Foley Dream arrived at Cuvaison Carneros Winery (Courtney was unfortunately called to a last minute Pinot conference in Oregon). The excitement in the atmosphere was contagious as we were surrounded by roughly 3,500 other participants and warmed up along the scenic rolling vineyards at Cuvaison. We couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather as the morning brought cool temperatures, cloud coverage and a slight breeze. Water stations accompanied the incredible scenery and general good mood from fellow racers carried our spirits to the finish line at Historic Sonoma Plaza where we were greeted with a rare summer shower and cheers from hundreds of supporters. After the Race we enjoyed the Wine and Music Festival and recovered at the VIP tent with massages, sparkling wine and delicious food!

As for the run, I felt reasonably prepared the day of the race.  I ate at 4 am to be fully digested before start time, and I only really felt hungry at about mile 10.  I started in a mob of orange-jerseyed Crones and Colitis runners near the 3.0 hour pace runner thinking this is where I needed to be.  For the first seven miles, I passed (albeit very slowly) more people than passed me.  At around 7-8 miles, I held constant with those around me. When I saw the final turn, came to it, and looked up the long last mile, I wanted to stop but kept pace. Even when I was just a few feet from crossing the finish, my only thought was 'please don't let me trip over the timing bars!'. 

The champagne and VIP massage was a great touch and much needed.  I ate and rehydrated fully from what was offered in the VIP area.  After relaxing at home and two bowls of fried rice later, I felt pretty good for having run almost twice as far as I'd ever run.  Even my cross-country training 17 year old son was impressed!


Time Posted: Aug 4, 2014 at 1:53 PM
The Society
July 19, 2014 | The Society

Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon Training Update: David Lattin

The last couple of weeks I have been experiencing some ankle pain due to all the training I’ve been putting in preparation for race day. To combat this, I have been integrating cycling into my workouts so I can keep up my cardio and build muscle strength in my legs. In addition to incorporating other methods of exercise, I have been icing regularly and taking Advil to reduce swelling. With the race date rapidly approaching, I have been taking it easy this week in an effort to conserve my energy for Sunday!

Here’s a salad recipe for when I don’t want any bulk from carbs but need some protein – I like to enjoy it with a slightly chilled Zinfandel, Sangiovese, or other fresh red wine.

- David



½ lb flank steak
2 very large handfuls of arugula
1 red onion
1 tbsp Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Parmesan cheese

1. Sprinkle flank steak with sea salt 30 at least 30 minutes before cooking and set aside at room temp (covered loosely w/plastic wrap).

2. Wash arugula and set aside in refrigerator.

3. Cut ends and remove skin from red onion.  Slice across into 4 thick slices keeping the rings together.  Sprinkle onion slices with sugar, a grind or two of sea salt, and the same of black pepper.

4. Heat olive oil to medium and lay 4 onion slices carefully into oil.  Reduce heat to low and ‘sweat’ onion on one side for 15 minutes.

5. Turn onion slices over, add a couple of liberal dashes of balsamic vinegar over the slices and continue sweating for another 15 minutes.

6. When onions are slightly caramelized on both sides, turn off heat.

7. Heat grill to medium high and grill flank steak for 7 minutes on one side, 5 minutes on the other (or longer if you don’t want medium rare).  Set aside on cutting board for 10 minutes.

8. Slice flank steak across the grain in ¼-1/2 inch slices and separate into 4 even portions.

9. Divide arugula between two plates.

10. Put one portion of the steak on the arugula, lay an onion slice on top, add the second portion of steak and the last onion slice.

11. Pour the juices from the onion pan onto both salads.

12. Use a cheese slicer to cut 2 wide strips of parmesan on top of each salad and serve.

Time Posted: Jul 19, 2014 at 12:29 PM
The Society
July 10, 2014 | The Society

Napa to Sonoma Update: Courtney Foley

My training progress is pretty minimal – I have developed plantar fasciitis – an inflammation of a band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, which runs under your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes. This inflammation results in a deep, stabbing pain on the bottom of the heel, making it difficult for me to run. As a result of this, I’ve had to scale back my mileage and have had to stay in shape through other modes of exercise – mostly by riding my bike. I’ve found that switching to cycling while dealing with a running injury has been helpful because it helps strengthen the complementary muscles in my legs, and helps to increase leg turnover. Both of these things are crucial to being primed and ready for an upcoming race, and it is the next best thing to actually being able to run. Hopefully, with diligent attention to my aches and pains, and supplementing my normal running schedule with cycling, I'll still be able to finish the race, and with any luck, run it at pace!

In the meantime, to fuel my bike training I have been enjoying these homemade cherry-almond granola bars – these are incredibly easy to make, healthy and provide lasting energy for long rides.

- Courtney



Adapted from


1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 cups quick oats
1½ cups almonds, coarsely chopped
1 cup dried cherries
3 tablespoons brown sugar
⅓ cup honey
1½ cups almond butter
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on both sides.

2. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the oats and toast until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.

3. In a large bowl, combine the oats with the remaining ingredients and mix well to combine. (This can be done by hand, but it’s especially quick in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.)

4. Press the oat mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Pop the pan into the refrigerator or freezer to let the mixture set for 5 to 10 minutes. Cut into 12 evenly sized bars and serve. The bars will keep in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic for up to five days.

Time Posted: Jul 10, 2014 at 11:46 AM
The Society
June 4, 2014 | The Society

Lifestyle Series - Updates from Dave

The last few weeks I have been on the road, traveling to North Carolina, Las Vegas and Chicago to visit distributors and host Winemaker dinners and it has been a challenge to fit training into my schedule. I’ve managed to squeeze my runs in the early mornings on the hotel treadmills at least three times a week, averaging  4 ½ -5 miles per run. During these sales trips, I intentionally eat light in the morning—mostly fruit, yogurt and granola, especially since I know winemaker dinners have a tendency to rack up calories! Recently, I replaced my old Asics as they wore big holes through the top and have replaced them with two pairs of Brooks; each pair has a different heel height to alter running styles during training. As I am increasing my mileage, my goal for June is to run five miles twice a week with an eight mile run on the weekend and to be eight pounds lighter before race day (to ease the impact on the ankles and knees!).

When not on the road, my schedule is a little bit more flexible and I have been integrating evening runs, walks with my dog, as well as dynamic dumbbell workouts into my training. The dumbbell training includes squats, rows, twisting militaries, amongst other exercises that increase the overall strength and endurance of my muscles, which in turn improves my ability to build up to longer distances.

On a general note, I was a sprinter in high school and have always had an aversion to distance running.  My furthest distance was a 10K when I was in graduate school, when I was 25 pounds lighter and 33 years younger and so I am enjoying the challenge. I’m counting on the excitement of running in a crowd to keep me moving!

I have chosen this particular recipe to share because it is one of my go-to recovery meals—it satisfies a big hunger with texture and complex flavors without inducing a protein ‘coma’ that a burger or steak might cause.



Whole Wheat Pasta with Kale and Pancetta

For the Pasta:
1 cup finely milled whole wheat flour, sifted
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp cold water

For the ‘Sauce’:
4 thin slices of pancetta, minced
1 bunch Lacinito (Dinosaur) kale, rinsed, ribs removed
1 large pinch hot red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Mound the flour on a large cutting board (big enough for rolling out the pasta). Make a well in the center of the mound and pour in the beaten egg. Use your fingers to mix the egg and flour together to make a dough that just sticks together, adding the cold water as necessary. Knead the dough for 5 minutes.  It should be difficult, firm, but evenly smooth by the end. Roll in plastic wrap and set aside for at least 30 minutes. Bring a large stockpot of water to boil. Add a large pinch of sea salt. Throw in the kale leaves and blanch for 1-2 minutes to set color and soften slightly. Lift kale into a colander, rinse with cold water to stop cooking, and drain thoroughly. Leave water in stockpot for cooking pasta. Ball up the kale, squeeze the water from it, cut in narrow strips (julienne), and set aside. In a large frying pan, sauté the pancetta until almost crisp, rendering much of the fat. Turn heat off, drain half the fat from the pancetta and add the olive oil to the pan. Cut the pasta dough into four pieces. Lightly flour the board and a rolling pin and roll to fettuccini thickness. Use a knife to cut into ¼” noodles and set aside. Bring the kale water to a boil again. Turn the frying pan with the pancetta and olive oil to medium high and add the kale and red pepper flakes.  Stir for several minutes and lower heat to medium low. Boil the pasta until it floats up and for another 2-3 minutes or until no longer grainy tasting. Drain the pasta but save 1 cup of the pasta water. Add the pasta to the frying pan with kale, etc., mix ingredients, and add any pasta water to make the ingredients coat the pasta nicely. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Serve with grated parmesan if desired.


Cheer Dave on at the Destination Races Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon on July 20, 2014!

Time Posted: Jun 4, 2014 at 4:00 PM
The Society
June 4, 2014 | The Society

Roth Estate - Cellar Updates

Updates from Enologist Brian Menconi

Having recently completed racking for the 2012 vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Heritage along with the 2013 Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the winemaking team is preparing for bottling in late June to early July.  A necessary stage during winemaking, racking is the process of moving wine from one barrel to another and in effect clarifying wine by separating the sediment from the liquid. By using gravity in lieu of a filter or pump which can be disruptive, this practice assists in the stabilization of wine. Once racking is completed, the team will be turning their attention the 2013 vintage as they prepare pre-blends for the Bordeaux varietals which will still have another year to age in barrels before they are bottled.

In addition to the opening of the new tasting room, there is plenty to look forward to this year at Roth. Foley Family Wines is excited to announce that Leslie Mead Renaud has joined the Roth team as Director of Winemaking and will be overseeing the launch of a new wine program featuring small lot (150-200 cases) of single vineyard concept wines to be exclusively sold in the tasting room. Construction on the cave system has already broken ground and will span 10,000 square feet, increasing Roth’s wine storage capacity by 930 barrels upon completion in early 2015. When finished, guests can look forward to cave tours and intimate sit down tastings in the alcoves. 

In other exciting Roth news, four of our wines won gold medals at the 2014 Press Democrat North Coast Wine Challenge. Be sure to taste these award-winning wines at the grand opening of the new Roth tasting room. Mark your calendars for June 28th, 2014 and we will see you at the Roth Grand Opening!

96 Points - 2010 Roth Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley – “Powerful, precise, perfection, dark rich full bodied, provocative”

95 Points 2012 Roth Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast – “Clean fruit, pear, green apple, long creamy finish”

94 Points2011 Roth Estate Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast – “Floral, spicy, deep, even, rich and fleshy”

92 Points 2012 Roth Sauvignon Blanc, Alexander Valley – “Approachable, easy to drink”

Time Posted: Jun 4, 2014 at 4:00 PM

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