Rosa Lee de Leuze

ZD Wines - Napa Valley, CA

Rosa Lee de Leuze is the personification of ZD's personal approach to wines. Described by others in the trade as warm and charming, Rosa Lee is doing what she enjoys best... marketing ZD Wines, meeting people and enjoying the close relationships she has developed with distributors, retailers, restaurateurs and ZD fans. She works with her son, Brett, who was named Marketing Director in 1988, who brought new energy and ideas to the winery.

In 1955, when Rosa Lee married Norman de Leuze, they were both students at University of California, Berkeley. She never expected that someday their lives would involve meeting so many interesting people, enjoying such wonderful wine and food, and the opportunity to work with her husband and children. Rosa Lee works well with Norman, and feels fortunate having all of her children involved in the family business.

Actively participating in marketing ZD Wines since its inception in 1969, Rosa Lee began holding new release parties at the winery and selling wine to accounts in the San Francisco area. Rosa Lee first called on the wine shop in the Cannery in 1972. She recalls being invited in by the proprietor, who was very excited about buying wines from a new, small winery. They talked for quite some time, and the proprietor purchased ZD Wines for his shop, which he still carries to this day.

The first restaurant to carry ZD Wines was the Clift Hotel in San Francisco. The restaurant manager stopped by the winery in 1972 when it was located in a small farm building near Santa Rosa. He took some wine back to the sommelier, who adamantly refused to buy a wine with a name like ZD. He did agree to taste the wine, and was so impressed, he immediately added it to the wine list.

Successes such as these have brought Rosa Lee a great deal of satisfaction, since she takes her family's wines personally. One of the many thrilling moments she recollects was a phone call in 1982 from Dave Berkeley, wine consultant for White House functions. Dave called to ask for immediate delivery of five cases of Chardonnay to Williamsburg to be served at the Economic Summit Conference, which would be attended by all the Heads of State. Seizing the moment, Rosa Lee arranged to send the 1981 Chardonnay, adorned with the newly designed ZD label, to be "unveiled" at the prestigious dinner.

Proud of ZD's wines, Rosa Lee derives great pleasure knowing that her family has added something extra to their consumer's lives, "...the social element of sharing the finer things in life which makes people happy, enabling more people to enjoy our wines," says Rosa Lee. Rosa Lee's other interests have involved membership in an antique collection, and a partnership in "Cooking With Class", a cooking school which involved catering and pairing wine with food. With respect to future endeavors, Rosa Lee is looking forward to seeing her grandchildren involved in the family business someday.

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