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Wine Women to host best-selling author James Conaway book signing and conversation at St. Francis Winery

by press release
March 06, 2018

 Wine Women will host best-selling author James Conaway for an evening of conversation with local writer Paul Franson and a book signing. The event will be held on March 14th, from 6 to 8 p.m., at St. Francis Winery & Vineyards in Santa Rosa. Guests will be able to purchase copies of Conaway's new book, “Napa at Last Light: America’s Eden in an Age of Calamity,” from Readers Books, which will be on-site, selling copies to attendees. Tickets are available on Eventbrite.

Christine L. Mueller, Wine Women president, commented, “Land development has become an increasingly contentious topic in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys in the past several years. As our members’ careers and lives are directly affected by how these changes play out, we’re interested in hearing Mr. Conaway’s take on what we can expect. We hope guests will have questions of their own at the book signing.”

A former Wallace Stegner writing fellow at Stanford University and an Alicia Patterson journalism fellow, James Conaway is the author of 13 books, including the trilogy: “Napa: The Story of an American Eden,” (1990); “The Far Side of Eden: New Money, Old Land, and the Battle for Napa Valley” (2002); and now “Napa at Last Light: America’s Eden in an Age of Calamity.”

Frank Prial, writing in the New York Times, said Conaway was "a reporter with a Saroyan-like sense of humor and a Balzac-like eye for detail," which made him very happy. That book has been in print continually since 1990 and people still tell Conaway they enjoy and learn from it.

Napa’s sequel appeared in 2002. The Far Side of Eden: Old Land, New Money and the Battle for Napa Valley was a Washington Post Best Book of the Year and described in the New York Times Book Review as "an important story, emblematic of our time."

Other books include the memoir, “Memphis Afternoons,” about growing up in Memphis in the Fifties, and “The Kingdom in the Country.” It’s a personal journey through the public lands of the American West described by Wallace Stegner as "a very lively book... He got into places and activities that most westerners never even get close to," and by novelist Jim Harrison as "a wonderful and well-considered evocation of the New West."

Conaway has also written for several magazines over the years, including The New York Times Magazine, Atlantic, Harper’s, The New Republic, Gourmet, Smithsonian and Nat Geographic Traveler.

Mr. Franson writes about wine and winemaking for both consumers and the wine business. He was formerly editor of a national business magazine, and has written for many publications, including Wine Business Monthly, Wine Enhusiast, Decanter, The San Francisco Chronicle, Food & Wine and the Napa Valley Register, as well as his own newsletter NapaLife, the weekly insider's newsletter about Napa Valley. He maintains two websites, and

Franson wrote Spinning the Bottle, a book about wine industry public relations with Harvey Posert, and is working on another wine marketing book.

For more than four decades, the wines of St. Francis Winery & Vineyards have reflected the finest mountain and valley vineyards in Sonoma County. Its founder, Joe Martin, fell in love with Sonoma Valley and established St. Francis Vineyard in 1971, planting 22 acres of Chardonnay and the first 60 acres of Merlot in Sonoma Valley. After achieving great success as a grower, Joe opened his own winery in 1979 with his business partner Lloyd Canton.

Their first winemaker, Tom Mackey, joined St. Francis in 1983 and was renowned for elevating both the quality and style of Sonoma Merlot as an ultra-premium, stand-alone varietal. He also cultivated an in-depth understanding of every Sonoma appellation.

Today, a new generation of winemakers, Katie Madigan and Chris Louton, continues their long tradition of luscious, elegant, fruit-driven wines from Sonoma County grapes. They farm more than 400 acres of Certified Sustainable estate vineyards in Sonoma Valley and Russian River Valley, each with varying compositions of loam, clay and volcanic soils. They also nurture long-term relationships with top Sonoma County grape growers, giving the winery access to some of the region's most coveted old vines Zinfandel and other varietals from acclaimed vineyards.

Tickets are available on Eventbrite at:, and range from $15 to $20, which includes wine, cheese and the book signing event.

WINE WOMEN’s mission is “To champion the advancement of women’s careers in the wine industry by building strong relationships, essential business skills and leadership among members.” At the core of the new 501(c)(3) nonprofit professional organization’s activities are programs focused on providing the tools, guidance and creativity for members to attain industry prominence.

For more information about WINE WOMEN, visit: or call 707.721.1095. Visit WINE WOMEN’s website at, or their Facebook page, WineWomenOrg, or find them on Twitter @WineWomenOrg. For complete details on their events calendar, visit:

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