Jill Leone loves sharing her knowledge of wine country with visitors—local and long distance. As owner of Leone Wine Tours, she revels in sharing her vast knowledge of wine country’s hidden gems with her clients. For many years now, Jill has provided personalized wine tours to clients in Napa Valley, Sonoma, Russian River Valley and even Mendocino. But she didn’t get her start in hospitality…
Jill spent her early career in maintenance with United Airlines, a world of nearly all males (making for an easier transition to the nearly-all-world-of-males in the wine industry). One day, Jill attended a seminar about tourism and working as a tour guide. She was hooked and jumped into course work with ITMI getting her certification in a tour guide skills and in tour director certification.
While she had originally planned to travel the world with this career, plans changed when she married and began a family in the North Bay. Her tenacity, however, was unwavering. She realized she was living in “Tourist Destination Central” in Sonoma County. She could conduct tours throughout the Bay Area instead of across the globe. This allowed her to balance family and career…most of the time.
Jill leaned into learning everything about the wine industry, from grape growing and winemaking down to great hospitality services, even working as a tasting room associate. She went to work in both Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley as a bicycle wine tour guide. She then moved on to private driver services with limousine companies and eventually her own wine touring company.
The hosts had a lot of questions for Jill. After all, tourism has evolved dramatically this past year. How was she keeping her clients safe during the pandemic while providing private driving services to winery tasting appointments? What are the biggest issues and changes facing visitors in 2021 now that folks are being vaccinated? You’ll have to tune in to hear Jill’s sage advice on these topics.
One thing is certain: Jill Leone has her finger on the pulse of the wine industry and the hospitality services that drive it. With more than seventy-five 5-star reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor, we were all delighted and amazed to hear how invaluable her services can be to local or long-distance visitors who are looking for a memorable wine country experience. Listen in for some not-to-be-missed tips if you’re planning to visit this year.
We also learned of a new initiative to recognize the contributions of women in the wine industry. Co-host Lisa Adams Walter explained the introduction of the inaugural #NationalWomeninWineDay , to be celebrated every March 25th. Anyone can nominate a woman in the industry to be recognize over the coming year at