Rick Bonitati will take over Jan. 2 as the new CEO of St. Francis Winery & Vineyards in Sonoma County, in addition to serving as senior vice president for the Western Operations of French American Vintners, the winery announced.
The former CEO, Christopher Silva, who also held the title of president, died in June, just months after he announced that he had been diagnosed with brain cancer.
Bonitati comes to St. Francis Winery and French American Vintners most recently from Paul Hobbs Wines where he was chief operating officer. According to the announcement, he has more than 30 years of experience including positions with Jackson Family Wines, beginning his career in sales and rising to the position of national sales manager of the Artisan and Estates Division.
He was general manager of La Crema and Hartford Family Winery, later advancing to senior vice president of production for California and Oregon.
“Rick is an accomplished leader, with a successful track record of leading compelling establishments with experience in winery general management, production, sales and marketing. He brings a great mix of leadership, inspiration, and a passion for wine, key to our family business. We are fortunate to find someone that has such a perfect skill set for this position,” said Richard Reitman, a member of the French American Vintners Board of Directors’
The board also announced that Robert Aldridge will become vice president of Finance for the Western Operations French American Vintners in addition to his current roles as COO/CFO of St. Francis Winery.
In April, the winery was among those to earn a California Green Medal in the third annual Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards.
It received a Community medal for its strong relationship with its employees and neighbors. The winery offers a comprehensive benefits package as well as annual health and wellness screenings, and funds an annual service day for employees to work at local nonprofits.