Local winemaker Patrick Foley dies at 31

He led winemaking at the Foley Johnson Winery in Rutherford and was the son of vintner and businessman Bill Foley.|

William Patrick Foley III, the winemaker at Foley Johnson Winery in Rutherford and the son of vintner and businessman Bill Foley, died on Aug. 12. He was 31.

His family listed his death as from natural causes. A spokesman for Foley Family Wines on Thursday would not provide any more specifics on the cause of death.

Known by his middle name, Patrick attended high school in Jacksonville, Florida, where he played lacrosse and was a member of a state championship football team.

He later graduated from Chapman University in Orange in 2010 with a undergraduate degree in business administration.

After working two years in investment banking, Foley turned to wine, working a harvest at his family’s Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards and Winery in Healdsburg. His father, Bill Foley, became a billionaire through his Jacksonville-based financial services firm and then entered the North Coast wine business as a mid-career venture, going on a buying spree in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. Bill also is the owner of the Vegas Golden Knights NHL hockey team.

The portfolio for Foley Family Wines includes more than 25 wineries and 3,000 acres of vineyards, such as Sebastiani Vineyards and Winery in Sonoma; Kuleto Estate in Napa County; and Lancaster Estate and Foley Sonoma in the Alexander Valley. His sister, Courtney, is head of winemaking at Chalk Hill.

Patrick Foley received his master’s certificate in enology and viticulture at Lincoln University in New Zealand and then worked a harvest in Argentina before coming back home. He started at his family’s Roth Winery in Healdsburg as the enologist and was later promoted to assistant winemaker.

Foley became winemaker at Foley Johnson almost two years ago.

He is survived by his father and mother, Carol; Courtney and another sister, Lindsay; and his brother, Robert.

No memorial service is planned, according to the spokesman.

The family asks that donations be made in Foley’s memory to the Folded Flag Foundation: www.foldedflagfoundation.org.

You can reach Staff Writer Bill Swindell at 707-521-5223 or bill.swindell@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @BillSwindell.

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