Lea Wines . Jennifer Tensley, Owner and Winemaker
Jennifer Lea Tensley’s brand, Lea Wines, is focused on vineyard-designated Rosés and Pinot Noirs from Santa Barbara County.
Jennifer’s road to winemaking was not a direct one though her interest in wine started early. When she was twelve years old, her mother, a wine importer at the time, decided to move them to Paris for a year. It was an incredible learning experience that immersed Jennifer in French culture and the culture of winemaking. She met winemakers, toured wineries throughout France, and, like her French friends, began tasting the wines served with evening meals.
While Jennifer went on to pursue a career in broadcast journalism then a career as a TV and film writer in Los Angeles, her love of food and wine remained an important part of her life. She continued to make regular visits to France and, of course, to her home town of New Orleans which had also fostered her love of great cuisine paired with great wine.
In 2001 Jennifer moved to Santa Barbara County’s wine country, feeling that it would be a perfect opportunity to combine her two passions – wine and writing. The beautiful and peaceful countryside provided an idyllic creative setting and gave her an opportunity to start working with local wineries.
In 2002 she met up-and-coming winemaker Joey Tensley. The connection was immediate and by 2003 they were married and had a son, Oliver. Tensley Wines was and remains a relatively small, hands-on operation, and Jennifer spent a great deal of time working side by side with her husband. By 2005 she felt ready to launch her own brand.
Jennifer started Lea Wines with two vineyard-designated Rosés, a vineyard-designated Pinot Noir, and a Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir blend. True to the Tensley tradition, there is a simple philosophy behind her winemaking – get out of the way and let the vineyard speak for itself.
Lea Wines • P.O. Box 874 • Santa Ynez, CA 93460