The Mahoney Family from County Cork
Francis Mahoney's parents arrived in California from County Cork, Ireland in the 1920's. Both of his parents' families, O'Mahoney and O'Riordan, still operate farms in County Cork. In the mid 1960's, Francis set off for Europe, working the family farms and traveling the great wine regions of France, Germany, and Italy. It was at this point that his love for the wines of Burgundy (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) developed. Francis studied enology at the University of California, Davis, and then worked various jobs in the vineyards and wineries of Napa Valley as he sought out a suitable place to begin his own winery focusing on his true passion - Pinot Noir. Francis found that land in the Carneros region, and in 1972, he established his family's first winery - Carneros Creek Winery.
The soils and climate unique to the Carneros Appellation provide ideal conditions for growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Having these elements in his favor, Mahoney then turned his attention to the vines. in 1974, Francis implemented a research project with the University of California, Davis to determine the clonal selections that had the best chance to produce wines worthy of standing alongside the great Pinot Noirs of Burgundy that he so admired. That research has led to a much more wholistic understanding of varietal and clonal characteristics, and it has helped advance the recent surge in the quality of Pinot Noir throughout California and Oregon.
Francis' parents had always encouragecd him to take pride not only in the many opportunities offered by their adopted homeland in California, but also in his ancestral roots in Ireland. Today, the wines that Francis and Kathy Mahoney help to create, embody the pride and commemorate that heritage. Just as the best wines come from vines with deep, strong roots, the Mahoneys continue to draw from the roots of their heritage to craft the wines of Mahoney Family Vineyards.
In Francis' Words
In the early 70s, my wife Kathy and I set out on a journey that has now spanned forty years in the Napa Valley. Our youthful combined passions for each other and wine drove us to follow our dreams. We moved north from San Francisco to become grape farmers and to eventually open a modern winery. Due to our love of Burgundies, the southern end of Napa was ideal, and in many ways the Carneros chose us. The soil, microclimate, and untapped potential of the land were perfect for what we had in mind; growing incredible Pinot Noir.
Kathy and I have worked extensively over the years researching Pinot Noir Clones with UC Davis and comparing notes with growers throughout Napa and Sonoma in pursuit of great appellation specific wines. Our research in the vineyards continues to this day, as we reflect on how our home, our lives, our dreams, and our passions are all entrenched in the soils of the Carneros. Kathy and I invite you to join us in toasting 40 years of passion, family, friends, farming, and our never ending pursuit to grow world-class wines.
¬ Francis Mahoney