Robert deLeuze

ZD Wines CEO Robert deLeuze, son of founder Norman deLeuze


Robert's Chevy Volt is connected to the electric charging station at ZD's Rutherford winery


Native flowers and plants serve as beneficial habitat to control unwanted pests


The original 1897 home which was lovingly restored in 2011


Redwood trees sporting owl boxes surround the home


The roof of the new barn in Carneros is covered in solar panels

ZD Wines Thinks Green

ZD Wines was recently certified as a Napa Green Winery. “It’s the way we think anyway – the way we do everything,” said CEO Robert deLeuze, son of founder Norman deLeuze, about the straightforward process to becoming certified.
One of the early members of the modern-day Napa Valley wine industry, ZD was founded by Norman deLeuze and his partner Gino Zepponi. The two mechanical engineers started making wine as a hobby in 1969 and helped establish Los Carneros as a premiere Chardonnay and Pinot Noir growing region. Within a decade, ZD became a full-time venture for Norman and the family purchased property in Rutherford to build their winery.

Conservation in Carneros

The deLeuze family acquired its 34-acre Carneros property from the Moon family in 1996 and immediately converted to organic cultivation. ZD’s commitment to the environment is evident from the moment you turn into the property. The long driveway is lined with abundant native flowers and plants, which serve as beneficial habitat for insects and birds that help control unwanted pests. Robert’s Chevy Volt is connected to the electric charging station in front of the original 1897 home, which was lovingly restored in 2011.
Inside the home, Robert’s attention to detail is apparent as he points out the original hardwood floors, the latest in efficient LED lighting, the recycled glass counter tops and the rainwater collection system on the roof. The home is surrounded by drought-tolerant landscaping and redwood trees sporting owl boxes. Just beyond the home is a new barn, with the roof covered in solar panels. Next to this is a garden, with raised vegetable beds and fruit trees. All of the produce goes to employees.
ZD chose their architect for the barn renovation because of his emphasis on integrating daylight into the project. The barn is positioned for maximum solar production. Opaque metal makes up the main shell of the building with perpendicular wood slats every six inches that disguise the metal, allowing in light and preventing heat loading. Inside, natural light pours in. Upstairs, the side of the building folds out giving shade to the vineyard overlook.
Beyond is storage for up to 90,000 gallons of rainwater. Robert notes, “That’s not a huge amount, but it helps. We are very short on water here so it’s not a game.” Municipal recycled water will also soon be available for irrigation in Carneros. The solar system on the barn’s roof provides more energy than they need on the property, but Robert says, “We were lucky because around the same time we installed this solar array, Marin Clean Energy launched in the Napa Valley. We opted to go ‘Deep Green,’ getting 100% of our energy from renewable sources. We get paid for our excess solar production.”

"We recyle almost everything."

When Norman and Gino purchased ZD’s Rutherford property in 1978, Robert says the first thing their vineyard manager did was thoroughly spray the 6-acre property. “My father looked around and saw everything was dead and said, ‘This isn’t healthy.’ At first, going organic was about what we weren’t going to do rather than what we were going to do, but over time we realized how important it is to invest in a healthy environment.” Robert says over the years they’ve learned from their neighbors, including Frank Leeds, director of vineyard operations at Frog’s Leap Winery, about dry farming and organic agriculture.
At the Rutherford property another solar array tucks into the vineyard next to the winery. This provided all of the winery’s energy needs until they installed an anaerobic biodigestor to recycle all of their process water for irrigation. Robert has been part of the family business since he was 11. He quit college in 1979 to help his father build the winery. “We recycle almost everything,” Robert says. “Stretch wrap, Styrofoam, cork, pallets, food waste – all of it.” There are recycling bins by every trash bin. All green waste, pomace and lees are composted and used in the vineyard.
Winemaker Chris Pisani is revved up about a new motor system with variable frequency drives that will improve efficiency and reduce noise. Pisani thinks being environmentally conscientious is part of the culture at ZD. “I remember a decade ago during bottling we had three large waste containers being hauled away every week,” he said. “Almost everything was going to landfill.” Robert adds, “Today the only things that get collected are glass and pallets for recycling. Everyone on staff is trained to recycle.”
In the winery parking lot, a Tesla and two Chevy Volts are charging at three of the four EV charging stations. If employees buy electric, ZD pays to charge their vehicles.

A Legacy of Stewardship

Name an aspect of winery operation and ZD has thought about its environmental impact: air compressors are on variable frequency drives; the two-stage chiller is highly efficient; the high-pressure water system and barrel washer are on an adjustable timer; night air exchange helps with cooling; motion detectors for keep lighting use to a minimum. The anaerobic biodigestor recycles roughly 40,000 gallons of water. It is stored underground, invisible beneath garden beds and vineyard.
Karen Steinhoff, who took the lead on the Napa Green certification process for ZD, says, “The Napa Green process was not difficult. You just have to pay attention to every element and be willing to sweat some of the details. I learned a lot.” Robert notes that they’ve updated their employee handbook with Napa Green information and resources. He credits his father for starting them on the sustainability path, now a 35-year record of environmental stewardship.

I've been at this for 30 years and this is the best, most well-thought-out program I've ever seen.​

A live check in with @abrittain &!
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🌿 Did you know that less than 3% of philanthropic donations go to environmental work? 

Please consider donating to Napa Green this giving season with one of several ways at any level! 

Head to the link in our bio for details!
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With gratitude and joy, we wish you a beautiful day & start to the holiday season from all of us at Team Green! 

- Ben, Meghan, Anna, Marissa, Sierra & Megan
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‘If not here, where? If not now, when?’ 

“The onus is on us as a world class wine growing region to be leaders in sustainability & climate action.” 

- Executive Director of Napa Green, Anna Brittain
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It’s been a big week at Napa Green and we want to take a moment to raise a glass to salute you all. 

We are overjoyed to see so much support and invigorated interest in our mission towards sustainable practices and regenerative agriculture in the wine industry. 

We have many more details, paired with educational & financial resources that are already up and rolling on our website. We will continue to share them all, one by one and in great detail here on socials as well. 

For now please plan on joining us at our upcoming Town Hall meeting on Dec 7th at @stsupery. You can find more details at 

Cheers and Happy Friday Napa Valley. We are so proud to be a part of this amazing community!
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⚠️ Important Announcement 

Napa Green becomes the first sustainable wine growing certification to require the phaseout of Round Up. 

Please find the link in our bio for the full press release and full suite of info & grower resources. 

Join us on December 7th for our Napa Green Town Hall at @stsupery.
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Don’t miss the awe-inspiring @nikki_silvestri at @dominusestatewinery on Nov 30th!
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You’re invited to join us for a very special day at @dominusestatewinery on November 30th. 

We’ll be briefly interviewing our speaker @nikki_silvestri right here on Instagram today at 2:00pm PST to hear more about what to expect at this event. See you then.
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Curious to learn more? Join us at @dominusestatewinery on November 30th for a rare event and luncheon. Link in bio for details.
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GREEN is the new black this season!! 

Head to the link in our bio now and get your shirts, help a good cause and be an honorary part of Team Green this season! 💚
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Let’s hear it for our Executive Director of Napa Green, the incomparable Anna Brittain for being named a 2023 Wine Industry Leader by @winebusinessmonthly!! 

In their Sustainability Stewards section (which we love to see) we find Anna named in good company with inspired fellow leaders! 

Head to our stories or the link in our bio for free access to the full November issue. 

Cheers to the great work of our visionary Director Anna Brittain!!
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Drink Green this Halloween! 💚
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Sierra is our Soil & Climate Specialist at Napa Green and her ask this year is that everyone consider donating to our small but mighty Team Green for Giving Season! 

Here is more from @regenwithsierra: 

“🎃 Happy Halloween Eve everyone! Today is my birthday, and I would be beyond thrilled if you would consider a donation to @napagreen to support a nonprofit focused on climate action in the wine industry 🍷🍾

@napagreen has the leading set of standards for sustainable practices, from soil to bottle. I am most proud of the work we do with winegrape growers to adopt regenerative agricultural practices in their vineyards. 

Please consider supporting us in our mission!  Click the link in bio for more! “
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Thank you for having us @visitnapavalley! We had a great time talking to visitors about the many sustainability practices our Napa Green wineries and vineyards employ! 

Stop into the Visit Napa Valley Visitor Center in Napa to learn more!
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