Ackerman Family Vineyards has appointed Leo Tellez to the role of winemaker. His first Ackerman wine, a 2018 Sauvignon Blanc, was released in June.
Tellez’s great-grandfather moved to Napa Valley from Jalisco, Mexico and bought one acre of land in 1950. His grandfather spent his career at Charles Krug Winery and his father devoted more than 25 years at Robert Mondavi Winery until the winery sold in 2004.
Tellez’s personal connection to wine came via sommelier and chef mentors at restaurants such as Domaine Chandon’s Étoile restaurant, La Toque, The French Laundry and Masa’s.
After graduating from San Francisco State University with an international relations degree, Tellez took viticulture and enology classes at Napa Valley College and started his first wine-making internship at Kapcsandy Family Vineyards in Napa Valley, working closely with winemaker David Sotelo.
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In 2012, he joined winemaking consultant Denis Malbec as his assistant winemaker working with wineries including Kapcsandy, Blankiet, Repris, Captûre, Notre Vin and Sodaro Estate.
In 2016, Tellez joined Sodaro Estate in Coombsville full-time as their winemaker, working with viticulture consultant Michael Wolf and the family to make small-production Cabernets. He will continue to make the Sodaro Estate wines.
Ackerman Family Vineyards purchased the Stonehaven vineyard in Napa’s Coombsville district in 1994 and began making wine for themselves in 1995. An entire replant of the vineyard in 1999 led to the first Ackerman Family Vineyards’ commercial release in 2003. The Ackerman’s Stonehaven Vineyard received the first organic vineyard certification in Coombsville in 2009.