ABOUT US

live+love+leal

Léal reflects living the Central Coast way of life through a beautiful, natural setting, agricultural sensibility, gracious hospitality and exceptional culinary and wine experiences.  Settled among 50 private acres, the estate's rustic architecture, various acclaimed venues, intimate wedding sites and celebrated live events enhance and elevate time spent in this renowned winegrowing estate.   

Léal Vineyards and Estate is a vineyard, winery and venue located in California's hidden wine region in the rolling northern foothills of the Central Coast region of San Benito County with award winning wines and a selection of sites with a unique sense of place.

Frank Léal's commitment to intensely flavored and complex wines begins in the vineyard. It is for that reason he chose Hollister to begin his vineyard, with its rich variety of interwoven soils, elevations and microclimates from the Pacific Ocean not too far away. San Benito County is ringed and crisscrossed by mountains and Hollister viticulture has drawn similarities to Napa's famous Yountville region.

California's Central Coast wine country has ideal conditions for growing a variety of superior wine grapes and producing world-class wines. We create wines of character and distinction that pay tribute to the Central Coast heritage as one of the world's premier grape growing regions. Tradition and innovation mix at Léal Vineyards and Estate to produce award winning Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, to captivating blends from our estate varietals including Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, Malbec, Grenache, and Mourvèdre. Tempt your pallet with a collection of illustrious wines of the highest quality and visit the timeless allure of Léal Vineyards and Estate. live+love+leal

Our People

FRANK LÉAL – VISIONARY VINTNER / OWNER

Frank Léal is the founder, owner and winemaker of Léal Vineyards, providing the direction, resources, business acumen and determination for growth. East Coast American born Frank Léal left his blue-collar career in Silicon Valley behind in search of a selection of sites inspired by nature − to build on his passion and appreciation for great hospitality, food and wine. While exploring the Central Coast, Mr. Léal purchased 50-acres of rolling northern foothills in San Benito County, and founded what is now known as Léal Estate Vineyards.

Mr. Léal's commitment to tradition mixes with innovation that begins in the vineyard, but this is just one of his many focuses. Mr. Léal's burgeoning empire is bolstering with new projects including "The Grove," a new farm to table restaurant and "Hacienda de Léal," a Spanish-inspired hotel − joining his 50-acre Vineyard and Estate and two additional wedding and event locations named "The Barn" and "Willow Heights Mansion." Today Mr. Léal reflects living the Central Coast way of life through beautiful, natural settings, agricultural sensibility, gracious hospitality and exceptional culinary and wine experiences − mixed with award-winning wines and a portfolio of venues with a unique sense of place. Live+Love+Léal … as he calls it.

OVIDIU POPESCU (OWIE) - GENERAL MANAGER

Ovidiu's (Owie) career has been spent working in the hospitality industry and serving our country in the U.S. Armed Forces. He has called many places around the world his home, but now Léal Vineyards has become that place. Owie was born and grew up in Romania, after his pursuit for higher education and learning the English language, he went to work as a tour guide in Romania and Hungary, then to Carnival Cruise Lines across the Caribbean and moved to the U.S. in 1999. Owie then went to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces with deployments to Georgia, Colorado and the Middle East. From all these experiences Owie has perfected his skills in making a memorable experience.

His adventure for travel brought him to California. Luckily for us, he found Léal Vineyards nestled in beautiful San Benito County. The chance to work in the wine industry and live on the Central Coast, while getting to know the ins-and-outs of Léal's wines fascinated him. Owie prides himself in his ability to make others more successful and enhancing the experience of everyone who walks through our doors. He spends his free time learning photography and traveling whenever possible.

EXECUTIVE CHEF MARK JOHNSON

Chef Mark Johnson was born and raised in Morgan Hill, California. After receiving a degree in Business, Mark went on to study culinary arts at the California Culinary Academy le Cordon Blue in San Francisco, graduating at top of his class. Mark continued his career at Gary Danko Restaurant in San Francisco where he studied under award winning Chef Gary Danko ("Best Chef California'" James Beard Foundation) for eight years, refining his skills as a Sous Chef.

After traveling through Europe studying local cuisine, Mark returned to his hometown of Morgan Hill. He was then hired as the Executive Chef for Frank Léal and his three properties, including The Grove Restaurant, Léal Vineyards, and Willow Heights Mansion.

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