Zaca Mesa Winery & Vineyards
Since 1972, Writing Santa Barbara County Wine History
A family-owned and operated estate property with historic roots in Santa Barbara’s wine country, Zaca Mesa Winery & Vineyards has proudly produced hand-crafted wines since 1973. As only the third winery in the area, they helped pioneer the Santa Barbara Rhône movement and paved the way for future winemakers.
With 45 years of history, Zaca Mesa became the training ground for many of the area’s great winemakers. Names like Ken Brown (Zaca Mesa’s first winemaker), Jim Clendenon, Bob Lindquist and Daniel Gehrs, all got their start at Zaca Mesa, continuing to begin their own labels, and grow the reputation of the Santa Ynez Valley wine industry.
Sip in History, Relax, Enjoy and Learn
Zaca Mesa’s Tasting Room is located in the original 1978 barn, surrounded by a beautiful pastoral setting. As you sample award winning wines, your host will impart some of the history of Zaca Mesa, the area and the changes that have occurred over the years.
In the beginning, Zaca Mesa originally planted common varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Riesling and Pinot Noir. As one of the first wineries in the area, it took years to conclude that this micro-climate was most adaptable to growing Rhône varietals. Since 1997, Zaca Mesa has focused exclusively on producing exceptional Rhône wines. Included in their production is a very special Syrah: the Black Bear Block Syrah. Originally planted in 1978, the Black Bear Block is the oldest block of Syrah on the Central Coast.
When visiting Zaca Mesa, sit back and enjoy your tasting, or if inclined, delve deeper into the history of the wines and winemaking process. The winery offers a variety of fun and interactive learning opportunities, including winery and vineyard tours.
Looking to the Past to Define the Future
Throughout its history, Zaca Mesa has always pushed the envelope and experimented in order to produce exciting wines. Kristin Bryden, Winemaker since 2016, is continuing the tradition of looking to the past to create future award-winning wines. Breaking away from some of the more traditional winemaking techniques, Kristin is using different vessels such as concrete tanks, clay amphorae (which date to ancient Greek and Roman times) and neutral oak barrels, in order to highlight the true character of the grape. The new GSM blend, Inceptive, uses a distinct blend of concrete and neutral oak aging, showcasing intense purity of fruit with elegant balance. This wine has already received 93 points from Wine Enthusiast Magazine. You may say this is the “new Zaca Mesa,” reinventing themselves and setting the trend for the future.
Zaca Mesa is a destination winery. It is the history of the Santa Ynez Valley wine industry, the past, the present and the future. You will find the grounds and winery a perfect place to relax with a fine glass of wine and picnic, while visiting a historical setting.