Léal Vineyards is the creation of a self-taught wine fanatic. Owner Frank Léal is living his dream. His goal? To have fun, to reestablish San Benito County’s historic reputation as a winegrowing region, and to consistently provide limited, exceptional vintages to his discerning fans.
Many folks fantasize of running a winery when they retire. Frank decided to pursue his dream while still in his twenties. Leaving his blue-collar career behind, he searched for the perfect locale. In 1998 and only 28 years old, Frank purchased 45 acres for the new vineyard. The chosen spot? The foothills of Hollister, in San Benito County towards the northern end of California’s sprawling Central Coast region. Léal recognized that here was a perfect synthesis of climate, soils, and people for producing truly great wines.
As the vines were left to mature in Hollister, Frank headed to Napa to learn first hand how to craft world class wines. While the knowledge he learned in Napa was invaluable, his didn’t really fit in his irreverent attitude and youthful style clashed with Napa’s snobbery and stuffy tasting rooms. He knew that the eventual Léal wines and visitor experience would have to reflect his belief that wine should be built for and around good friends, good meals, and good times in a non-pretentious enviroment.