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Terra d'Oro Winemaker, Chris Leamy Named ZAP 2012 Heritage Vineyard Project Winemaker

Posted on January 14, 2013

Trinchero Family Estates (TFE), the Napa Valley, family-owned wine company, has announced Terra d’Oro winemaker Chris Leamy as the official winemaker for the Zinfandel Advocates and Producers (ZAP) 2012 Zinfandel Heritage Vineyard Project.

Each year ZAP selects a distinguished winery member to craft a unique Zinfandel vintage from the Heritage Vineyard, which is available for tasting at many ZAP events and for purchase during the Zinfandel Festival. This year’s Grand Tasting will be held on Feb. 2, 2013 in San Francisco, which is also Chris’s birthday. In 2014, Terra d’Oro will host a celebration event at Terra d’Oro Winery, located in Amador County, to announce the official release of the 2012 Heritage ZAP Zinfandel.

Chris Leamy’s role as winemaker for the Zinfandel Heritage Vineyard Project was an easy fit as TFE has a history of supporting the efforts of UC Davis, FPS and ZAP. In 2009, UC Davis announced Trinchero Family Estate’s $1 million dollar donation to help the university build new facilities with state-of-the-art technology for UC Davis Foundation Plant Services (“FPS”), an organization within the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences responsible for clean planting stock and other key programs. In May 2012, UC Davis held the official dedication of the new facility – the Trinchero Family Estates Building.

Originally established at the University of California at Davis (UC Davis) Oakville Research Station in Napa Valley beginning in 1995, the Zinfandel Heritage Vineyard Project is an unprecedented collection of rare and famous Zinfandel vine cuttings grown throughout California. The Zinfandel Heritage Vineyard Project has been a fruitful collaboration with a primary goal to provide superior Zinfandel selections to growers as the basis for future plantings; and in 2009 UC Davis FPS released 19 Zinfandel selections to nurseries. While these selections require more evaluation in traditional Zinfandel growing regions, they hold a promise to strengthen the reputation of Zinfandel as the premier historic winegrape of California. Together UC Davis and ZAP continue to work toward preserving Zinfandel’s heritage while expanding the range of rootstock available to growers.

For the 2012 Zinfandel Heritage Vineyard Project, 2.18 tons of Zinfandel from the Heritage Vineyard (located within the University of California, Davis’ Viticultural Station in Oakville) were harvested on Sept. 26, 2012 according to research associate Mike Anderson and winemaker Chris Leamy. “The 2012 growing season was excellent. After tasting the grapes at harvest, I expect the wine will show deep, grapey fruit flavors, with rich spice for which Zinfandel is famous. The wine is aged in second fill oak barrels, which help impart a much more subtle oak character as opposed to a new oak barrel. This will allow the Zinfandel fruit to be the star of this show,” Leamy explained.

Chris Leamy received his degree in biological sciences in 1991 from UC Davis, originally pursuing a career as a microbiologist. After working as a wine microbiologist and an enologist, Chris joined Trinchero Family Estates as assistant winemaker at the Terra d’Oro and Montevina winery in 2000, and was promoted to winemaker in 2004. Chris is deeply committed to Amador County as a premier California growing region, particularly for Zinfandel.

To learn more about ZAP’s Zinfandel Heritage Vineyard Project, visit To learn more about Chris Leamy and Terra d’Oro Winery, visit


TFE is wholly owned and operated by the Trinchero family, Napa Valley vintners since 1948. The portfolio includes more than 30 brands such as Sutter Home, Trinchero Napa Valley, Napa Cellars, Terra d’Oro, SeaGlass, Trinity Oaks, Folie à Deux, Ménage à Trois, and the number one alcohol-removed wine, Fre. TFE markets and sells Joel Gott Wines; Charles & Charles; and the Three Thieves group of wines: Bandit, Newman’s Own, and The SHOW. TFE’s import portfolio includes Angove Wines from Australia; Doña Paula wines from Argentina; Carmen Wines from Chile; Shatter Wines from France; and CRUZ and Tres Agaves Tequilas from Mexico. Visit to learn more.

Job Function: Winemaking

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