Born in Texas, Zidanelia and her family moved to Mendoza, Argentina when she was just three years old. Since winemaking is the main economic industry in that region, she grew up surrounded by winemakers and listening to their wonderful stories. The passion they expressed for their life’s work made a deep impression on her at a young age, and she decided that winemaking was her true calling.
Zidanelia – her friends often call her Z – began her career working in the lab at Bodega Cruz de Piedra while attending university in Mendoza. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in winemaking, she traveled to the south of France to the Cave cooperative Les Vignerons du Pays d’Enserune, working in the cellar for a harvest. Upon returning to Mendoza, however, she realized she wanted to keep traveling and her next destination should be California.
Zidanelia arrived in the US in 2007 and soon learned of Sonoma-Cutrer, where she applied for and was hired as an Enologist for that season’s harvest. She loved the experience and region so much that she decided to stay, moving on to the same position at Fetzer winery. There her skills, experience, passion, and hard work helped her move quickly through the ranks, and she became the Winemaker for Sanctuary, Fetzer Reserve Wines, and Little Black Dress within a few years.
Returning to Sonoma-Cutrer in 2015, Zidanelia is happy to be back where her California adventure first began. Her experience working on reserve wines made her the perfect fit for the role of crafting Sonoma-Cutrer’s outstanding Pinot Noirs. Zidanelia says that she loves nurturing the wines throughout the process and, even more, seeing others enjoy the results of her work.
Zidanelia enjoys living in Sonoma County with her husband and two sons.