During his formative years, Chris Pisani studied chemistry in college while spending time with his now-wife, Ina, whose father happened to make wines out of their house in Newburgh, New York. Chris watched, learned, experimented and soon, he was hooked.
Before long, Chris and Ina were moving to California for a taste of life in the wine country. To make ends meet when they first arrived, Chris took a job at an environmental consulting firm. Shortly afterwards he followed the path of some of Napa's most renowned winemakers and attended UC Davis to study viticulture and enology. It was here that Chris fell headfirst into the world of winemaking and started down the path that would lead him to ZD.
Beginning in 1996 as an enologist, Chris quickly took on the role of assistant winemaker in 1998, working closely with CEO/winemaster Robert deLeuze to understand the tradition and techniques that make up the ZD style. Three years later, Chris was in for another surprise when Robert deLeuze announced that, after 15 years as winemaker, he was stepping back from his role to spend more time on the management of the winery. Chris, in turn, would take over as winemaker. Five short years after joining the winery, Chris was responsible for producing ZD's signature well-balanced, fruit-driven Chardonnays; intense, flavorful Pinot Noirs; and opulent, rich Cabernet Sauvignons. "It is important to maintain the commitment to quality that makes ZD Wines so unique," claims Chris. "At a family-owned and operated business, it is rare to see the level of commitment as we have here, and I feel such a sense of pride knowing that the wines we produce are crafted from the best possible grapes, with an attention to winemaking that comes from ZD's 40 years of history and experience.