Smith: If there were wine at new F45 fitness studio, it would be Kendall-Jackson

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There won’t be wine bars in the franchised fitness studios suddenly popping up in Sonoma County.

That’s surprising only if you consider that Rick Tigner is the top person behind the F45 gym in Santa Rosa that will host a grand opening on Saturday and the two other F45s coming to Petaluma and Windsor.

When Tigner isn’t cycling Sonoma County roads or opening fitness studios he’s running the empire that is Jackson Family Wines.

Several forces drove him to partner with daughter Becky Schwank and buddy Ted Simpkins and launch local franchises of F45, which specializes in 45-minute, no-two-alike team fitness sessions.

“Because my wife has Parkinson’s, I have to be healthy,” said Tigner, who’s 57 and has led Sonoma County’s largest wine company since 2010.

Besides his determination to be able to assist Wendy, who’s lived with Parkinson’s disease since 2006, the Jackson Family Wines president/CEO is going into fitness studios to be helpful to the couple’s daughter, who’s a personal trainer.

Becky Schwank and her husband, Travis, are managing the new F45 studio on Santa Rosa’s Princeton Drive, near the Yulupa Avenue Whole Foods.

Tigner said wine industry friend Simpkins heard that he and his daughter and son-in-law were taking on a franchised fitness studio, and he liked the idea. So Simpkins and his two sons are working with Tigner to open F45s in Petaluma and Windsor early next year.

Tigner said a fourth franchise is on the drawing board, though he’s not sure if it will be in Rohnert Park or Roseville.

The vintner’s enthusiasm for fitness has grown along with the success of the 5-year-old benefit cycle ride, the Tour de Fox Wine Country, a benefit for Parkinson’s research by the Michael J. Fox Foundation. The Tigners coordinate the ride.

With the completion of the huge 2019 ride on Aug. 24 — more than 1,000 cyclists turned out — the local Tour de Fox has brought $3.5 million to the quest for better treatment and a cure for Parkinson’s.

Tigner said the success of the ride is more proof of “just how great the people of Sonoma County are. They come out and support.”

He and his health-focused clan will be meeting and greeting at the grand opening of the Santa Rosa F45 studio from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.


IMAGINE A SWIM that’s not only good for your health and fitness, but that just might save lives.

Early next month, several Sonoma County women and an unsinkable girl of 11 will travel to Mills College in Oakland for Swim A Mile, an extraordinary act of aquatic caring.

Over the years, swimmers taking the plunge in Swim A Mile have generated about $5 million in donations to Women’s Cancer Resource Center of Berkeley.

Leading our local team, the Sonoma Splashers, is 12-year cancer survivor Liz Larew of Forestville. This makes 10 years that the Splashers will take part in and raise dollars for Swim A Mile.

The youngest member of the Sonoma Splashers is Maggie Pahlow of Sebastopol. Maggie first swam against cancer in 2014, when she was 6.

Of course, she and the other Splashers would love for us to come cheer them on at Mills on Oct. 5. And they welcome donations at

You can contact Chris Smith at 707 521-5211 and

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