ZD Winery began as a partnership of two aerospace engineers whose initials formed the name of the winery: Norman de Leuze and Gino Zepponi. In 1968 they rented a small farm building in the Carneros region of Sonoma County; theirs was the first new winery permit issued in Sonoma County for nearly 20 years. ZD's 1969 Pinot Noir carries the historical significance of being the first wine to have a Carneros designation on the label. During the 1970s, a very open-minded approach was taken towards trying new and different varieties and growing regions. Research was undertaken to discover which regions produced the winegrape varieties that best reflected ZD's developing style - wines with rich, vibrant flavors. Over the years, ZD experimented with Zinfandel from the Shenandoah Valley; Pinot Noir from Oregon, Napa and Santa Barbara; Chardonnay from Napa, Sonoma, Monterey and Santa Barbara; Gewürztraminer from the Carneros; and more, plus extensive experimentation with use of oak from different regions of the United States and France. After 10 years of producing wine as a part-time business, Norman left engineering to devote all of his time to doing what had become a full-time passion. A new winery was built near Rutherford in the Napa Valley in 1979. After a decade of experimentation with various grape varieties, ZD Winery returned to its original goals and limited production to only Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. Today, the de Leuze family continues to produce wines with a personal, hands-on approach.