Margaret Leonardi

Margaret Leonardi

Fetzer Vineyards (Winemaker)

Margaret Leonardi is a native of Northern California and has spent her life surrounded by wine and viticulture. She grew up on an organic dairy farm, where large family meals, at-home gatherings, and leisurely dinners accompanied by wine were the rule, not the exception. Her passion for wine, coupled with being surrounded by inspiring women–namely her mother, a teacher, and her grandmother, an incredible cook–foreshadowed her pursuing the challenging career of winemaking.

After graduating from high school, Margaret entered California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 2005, majoring in Agriculture Business and being an active member of the Vines to Wines Club there. Her first hands-on experience in the wine industry was a summer internship with Bronco Wine Company in 2006. She returned to Bronco after graduating in 2009, serving as assistant winemaker there until mid-2015. Margaret was also the winemaker for Cottonwood Creek Winery in Madera for two years, starting there in mid-2013.

Margaret moved to Fetzer Vineyards in Hopland after leaving Bronco and also crafted wines for Little Black Dress Wines, now one of Fetzer’s labels. Her goal there was “. . . to make wines that are approachable, affordable, and delicious.” In recent years, she has overseen production of Fetzer’s acclaimed white wines, and was promoted to the position of winemaker in 2021, the first woman to hold this position in Fetzer’s history. Margaret now has responsibility for the entire Fetzer brand collection. A measure of her talents is found in being named as one of the North Bay Business Journal’s 2021 Forty Under 40 Awards winners.

Her philosophy of winemaking is embodied in her own words, “Much like the principles of sustainability, I take a forward-thinking approach to every winemaking decision. I thrive on planning and predictive environments.” She adds, “It feels good to know we are creating delicious wines that people love, while helping to build a more sustainable future.”

Outside of the winery, Margaret enjoys an active lifestyle filled with snowboarding, waterskiing, hiking, camping, and adventuring around Sonoma County. She is also a passionate home cook, an avid host of dinner parties, and the eternal alchemist when pairing wine and food during quality time with friends and family.