Leann Smith was born and raised on what locals refer to as the “Wine Country Corner,” the intersection of the Sonoma, Napa, and Lake County lines. Her family has lived on this property since 1898 when her great grandparents homesteaded 100-acres of land. During the Great Depression, her family briefly lost ownership of the property before Leann’s grandfather, Vernon Smith miraculously purchased it back for just $0.50 an acre. Once reestablished, Vernon started the Smith’s Mt. St. Helena Trout Farm in 1936, which Leann’s father continues to operate as a hatchery and family campground to this day. In addition to housing one of the area’s most popular fishing spots, the Smith’s property is also home to Chardonnay and Zinfandel vines, which became Leann’s first passageway into the wine world.
Her career in wine was solidified when Leann joined Frank Family six years ago, working as Accounts Receivable for California Sales before recently being promoted to the Winery Administration Manager. She now works closely with Winemaker and General Manager, Todd Graff to ensure office operations run efficiently and smoothly.
Last year was Todd Graff’s 20th harvest at Frank Family. Do you have a favorite memory of working with him?
Working with Todd has been fun, and I especially loved it when he would bring his dog, Bristol to work with him every day. He always knew where to come to get his treats.
What is your go-to Frank Family wine?
My favorite wine is Frank Family’s Blanc de Blancs, regardless of the time of year. It pairs with everything and adds a feeling of celebration no matter the occasion.
What is your favorite part about working at Frank Family?
I love everything about working at Frank Family. The winery is so beautiful, and everyone I work with is always so happy.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not at work?
I love to spend time with my grandkids and all my fur babies. I have two dogs, Max and Miley, a cat named Patches, and two rescue kittens, yet to be named. I simply love all animals and often marvel at the wildlife in my own backyard. Just recently, I rescued a baby deer who I found wounded near my house and nursed her back to health.
Can you tell us a fun fact about yourself?
Although I grew up on a trout farm with over 2,000 fish, I actually don’t eat seafood.