Established in 2005, Jennifer Lea Tensley’s brand, Lea Wines, is focused on Santa Barbara County terroir as expressed through vineyard-designated chardonnays and pinot noirs.
Jennifer Tensley, Winemaker
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. It was an incredible learning experience that immersed Jennifer in French culture and the culture of winemaking.
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. Tensley Wines is a hands-on operation, and Jennifer spent a great deal of time working side by side with her husband. By 2005 she wanted to create her own expression of Santa Barbara terroir, through the lens of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Keeping true to the Tensley tradition, Jennifer has held on to a simple philosophy behind her winemaking – get out of the way and let the vineyard speak for itself.
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