Stars Under the Stars Series Screens at St. Francis

Thursday nights at St. Francis Winery gives you classic films, local wines and good times beneath the Sonoma skies


Imagine, if you will, seated on a blanket (or low-back beach chair) beneath the stars, watching a movie, enjoying a bottle of wine, on a Thursday night in the Valley of the Moon.

Question, then, what movie? And more importantly, what wine?

At St. Francis Winery & Vineyards on Pythian Road (at Sonoma Highway), you have six weeks of Thursdays to choose from, six movies, and if you're not tied to your favorite jug, six different wines to try.

Part of the marketing for this year's "Stars Under the Stars" film festival is social networking, and there's a Wine and Film Pairing Challenge on Facebook. Just tell them in 200 words or less which St. Francis wine you'd pair with each week's film and why.

For instance, this week's film is Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles. It's a comedy western involving horses, campfires, beans and gunplay. So that pretty much rules out Chardonnay. Facebooks users seem to agree, suggesting the 2009 Old Vine Zin because its "black cherry and vanilla bean notes complement the team of Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder." Or the 2008 Malbec that "will make your mouth feel prettier than a French whore" (a line from the movie, we hasten to add); or perhaps the 2008 Dry Creek Petite Sirah, which pairs well with schitzengruben.

You get the idea.

The weekly open-air event runs from July 12 to August 16, and is curated by celebrity sommelier and film aficionado Christopher Sawyer. Sawyer will host a short discussion of the evening’s film and wine pairing immediately after an introduction from St. Francis Winery CEO and president Christopher Silva.

Seating on the lawn begins at 7 p.m. with a pre-show concert and wine reception, followed by an independent short film selection from San Francisco's  48 Hour Film Project. Feature films begin at dusk.

Guests are welcome to bring low-backed lawn chairs, blankets and a picnic. However, alcohol brought from offsite is strictly prohibited. There is no charge for attending and the popcorn is free. Wine by the glass, food and sweets will be available for purchase.

Schedule of St. Francis’ “Stars Under the Stars” outdoor film festival is as follows:

  • July 12 : Blazing Saddles
    Pre-show concert by Jay Blue
  • July 19: Rear Window
    Pre-show concert by Phil Berkowitz & The Dirty Cats
  • July 26: Top Gun
    Pre-show concert by Band Camp
  • Aug. 2: Mamma Mia!
    Pre-show concert by The Cork Pullers
  • Aug. 9: Groundhog Day
    Pre-show concert by Tumbao
  • Aug. 16: American Beauty
    Pre-show concert by Nat Keefe of Hot Buttered Rum


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