Margaret Leonardi recently become the new winemaker at Little Black Dress Wines. The wines have fruit-forward aromas, hints of dazzle, and an impeccable sense of balance and body to die for.
I recently caught up with Leonardi to ask her some questions about wine and LBD.
When did you know that wine was the profession for you?
College at Cal Poly, on California’s beautiful Central Coast, was a great introduction to the world of wine. As a student, I joined the university’s wine and viticulture club, Vines to Wines, and was soon interning at a winery. There are so many tremendous vineyards in the area that it was easy to catch the wine bug! I learned a lot and decided that after graduation I would pursue a career in wine – there was no going back.
You were recently named the winemaker for Little Black Dress, what excites you about being with LBD?
LBD is a really fun brand, and I instantly felt a connection to its energy and style. I like to say that these wines – like the iconic little black dress – make great accessories to lots of occasions, from watching The Bachelor at home with friends, to hosting a book club or heading out on the town. The diversity of the collection is also a big draw, and allows for ongoing discovery within the line.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
During spring, I spend most of my days putting the finishing touches on the current vintage of wine while actively preparing for the next. Daily activities include blending, checking oak profiles and monitoring wine lots for optimum aging. Once a blend is complete, I prepare it for bottling. I’m also spending a lot of time these days in the vineyards, where I check ripeness levels ahead of the upcoming harvest. It’s hard to believe, but this year’s crush is right around the corner!
Do you have any advice for a woman who wants to be a winemaker?
Being a winemaker is about passion, drive, hard work, knowledge and skill – no matter your gender. My best advice is to be confident in yourself and to pursue a career in something you love that also makes you feel inspired. If that’s wine, then go after it with focus – and be as prepared as you can possibly be. If you’re doing what you love, your energy will be infectious and you’ll find that others want to support you.
When it comes to the world of wine…who inspires you?
I’m forever inspired by other winemakers. Our mission is to make great wines for today’s oenophile – whom I find to be confident, adventurous and willing to give great brands a try! It’s an exciting time to be in wine.