RIP St Francis CEO Christopher Silva age 52

Christopher Silva, the Petaluma-born dynamo who left lawyering to become president of St. Francis Winery and steepened its ascent among Sonoma County’s finest purveyors of fine wine and foods, died Tuesday at the age of 52.

It was just in April that the father of two announced on Facebook that he had been diagnosed with brain cancer.

Silva quickly began radiation and chemotherap at UCSF, and he hoped to be treated by doctors at Duke University who developed a treatment that in a trial greatly extended patients’ survival time.

Enormously personable and widely beloved, Silva made St. Francis Winery & Vineyards a model of sustainability and the endless pursuit of excellence. He encouraged employees to give back to their community, and he led by example.

Among his contributions to Sonoma County was his founding of the successful Wine Classic, an afternoon of food, wine and acknowledgement of community leaders, at one of his alma maters, Santa Rosa Junior College.

“Chris was a real gift to everyone who knew him,” said a heartbroken Frank Chong, the school’s president.

“He was shining star,” Chong said. Though Silva died far too young, Chong added, “In the time he was here, he left his imprint on so many people.

Awesome guy. Simply a huge loss for the wine industry but moreover for his family. My thoughts go out to them.

RIP sir, I know he was revered by his friends.

And did a lot for the winery. Was just there a few weeks ago. Didn’t know he was so ill. A shame. RIP.

Way too soon. My wife’s first job in the industry was with St. Francis and Chris went way above and beyond what is expected of a CEO and took a personal interest in every single one of his employees even down to seasonal interns. He did selfess work for the winery, the Sonoma wine industry, and many other generous causes. My thoughts go out to all of his family and the team at St. Francis; he will sincerely be missed by many people.

St. Francis was our first lower end wine that got us going on our wine journey. We became club members, visited a few times and had multiple food and wine pairings at there beautiful winery.
I have followed St. Francis and Chris over the years. Seemed like a great man. RIP Mr. Silva!