Blending 01

We believe in a team approach to winemaking, as collaboration produces excellence.

Gabrielle Leonhard
Head of Winemaking and Master Blender

Gabrielle Leonhard was born in Germany, to a family with a long history of wine professionals and collectors. Her grandfather traveled the world exploring food and wines as a wine and food critic. Her mother was a wine chemist in Bordeaux, a food chemist and completed cooking school with a chef from the esteemed Cordon Blue Cooking School in France. A passion for quality ingredients and food preparation was a family heritage. Food and wine pairings were an ongoing topic at the family table. Gabrielle always dreamed of making wine.

Studies include Napa College/UC Davis viticulture program, sensory evaluation and olive oil sensory evaluation.

Wayne O’Connell
Winemaking Team

Wayne heads the production and harvest activities and is part of the blending team. He finds wonderful vineyard fruit sources and assures that fruit for Gabrielle Collection wines is top quality. He worked for his grandfather in the vineyard and cellar growing up and learned old world winemaking methods first hand.

Studies include Napa College/UC Davis viticulture program.

Kyle Laird
Consulting Winemaker

Kyle stresses harvest practices of selective picking: multiple passes to pluck fruit only at its optimum. He works closely with the vineyard crews to gently coax the flavors from the soil. Kyle is responsible for all the technical aspects of winemaking: picking decisions, fermentation, barrel selection, blending trials, bottling.

A native of Napa Valley, Kyle previously worked at San Clement Winery and Robert Craig Winery as Assistant Winemaker,  producing several vintages of highly rated Cabernets. He manages the production of high-end boutique wines at the custom Crush facility, Bin to Bottle.

Viticulture: Wine is made in the vineyard. Everyone at Gabrielle Collection is dedicated to this principle.

Patrick Riggs

Patrick Riggs, Jack Neal and Son’s lead Viticulturist and Head of Organic Farming, is the consulting vineyard manager of the estate vineyard. In collaboration with Wayne & Gabrielle, he oversees vine health and quality and implements strategies to keep the vineyards free from damaging pests and disease. Every year, we meet to make farming practice decisions with the goal of producing top grape quality that expresses the unique soil properties of the estate vineyard. Each vine is treated individually in regard to water; fertilizer and pest management needs, always focusing on organic and sustainable practices. Patrick earned a BA at the University of Wisconsin, Soil Science and Bacteriology and Masters degree in Plant Pathology from U.C. Davis.