By Liz Thach, MW

FFV - Rich and Leslie Frank_previewIMG_8880

Twenty-five years ago, when he was still President of Walt Disney Studios, overseeing movies such as The Lion King and Aladdin, Rich Frank spent many vacations in the Napa Valley. It was there that he fell in love with the wine industry and began searching for a winery to purchase. As luck would have it, the old Hanns Kornell Champagne House, reputed to be a favorite place for Marilyn Monroe to visit in the 1950’s, came up for sale. At the urging of friends, Rich purchased the old winery in 1992 and began to renovate the historic structure. Now, after many years of tending vineyards and producing award winning wines, Rich and his wife, Leslie, are celebrating their 25th anniversary as Frank Family Vineyards.

What is unique about Frank Family Vineyards is that they not only produce several different highly-rated Napa Valley Cabernets, but they also offer a wide variety of other choices – all crafted by 15 year veteran winemaker, Todd Graff. Since they already had a “Champagne cellar established,” they continue to produce exquisite sparkling wines, along with other varietals such as Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and even dessert wines, such as Port and late harvest.  It is partially for this reason that they have one of the most popular wine clubs in the valley, and have been awarded “Winery of the Year” twice by the Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine.

To celebrate their 25th Anniversary, Frank Family Vineyards is hosting a series of fun events all year, and have produced a special 25th Anniversary magnum, featuring a cabernet franc blend. Recently they celebrated with a paella party, cooking huge pans of seafood, poultry, and vegetarian paella to pair with all of their wines. Visitors who want to join in some of the special events, should contact the winery to schedule a visit. While there, they can see the special Hollywood room where posters and items from Rich’s Disney studio days are displayed, along with a mural of Marilyn Monroe.

Read my review of the wine here:

Winston Hill 2013


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