Winemaker, Accendo Cellars
Françoise has worked alongside Daphne and Bart Araujo since 1993 when they were proprietors of the Eisele Vineyard. Today at Accendo Cellars, she oversees the winemaking for the Sauvignon Blanc and consults with Nigel Kinsman on the Cabernet.
In her thirty-year career, she’s worked at some of the best—including Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Araujo Estate Wines, Viader Vineyards and Vine Hill Ranch—quietly crafting some of Napa Valley’s most acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignons of the last three decades. She is quick to credit her mentors, wine industry luminaries Michel Rolland, Warren Winiarski and Tony Soter, whose sensitivity, intellect and sense of aesthetics have clearly inspired her.
In addition to her role with Accendo, she continues to make the wines at Vine Hill Ranch (since 2008), and serves as consulting winemaker for Cornell Vineyards (2013), Heimark Vineyard (2016), and Almacerro (2017). She is also invested in Drinkward Peschon, a small brand she shares with her good friend and neighbor, Lisa Drinkward, since 2000.
Country born: United States
Education: Françoise earned a degree in Enology from the University of California, Davis, and a certificate from the DUAD program at the University of Bordeaux. After graduation from Davis, Françoise spent a year in Bordeaux working at Chateau Haut Brion. It was there that she discovered a life-long passion for working with Bordeaux varieties at an estate property; these two concepts have resonated with Françoise for more than 30 years.
Years in the wine industry: 30+ years
Honors / Awards:
In 2019, she was named The San Francisco Chronicle’s “Winemaker of the Year”.