• Time

    00:54 AM
  • Wine average?

    88 Tb
  • Country Ranking?

  • Region Ranking?

  • Popularity ranking?



We are a family-owned, estate winery dedicated to Syrah and other Rhône varietals. We handcraft our wines with integrity using traditional methods. The third winery established in Santa Barbara County, Zaca Mesa is known for not only producing great wines, but producing some of the region's best winemakers.


Purchased in 1972 by John Cushman and five friends, the first vines were planted a year later in 1973. Only the third winery in Santa Barbara County at that time, Zaca Mesa became a Santa Barbara County “vineyard wildcatter”- experimenting with many varietals, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, and Chardonnay to see what would work. After several years of trial and error, Syrah was planted in 1978. Unbeknownst to the early winemaking team at the time, this block would become what is today the renown Black Bear Block, the oldest Syrah block in the Central Coast.


As a vineyard and winery pioneer in the Santa Barbara County, Zaca Mesa also became the training ground for many great winemakers. Ken Brown was Zaca Mesa’s first winemaker who later started Byron in Santa Maria Valley. Adam Tolmach, Jim Clendenen and Bob Lindquist worked at Zaca Mesa before venturing out on their own to start Ojai, Au Bon Climat and Qupé, respectively. The number of winemakers that got their start at Zaca Mesa helped create what is now known as Zaca University. The first Central Coast wine (one of only two to this day) to achieve a Wine Spectator Top Ten was the 1993 Zaca Mesa Syrah, which came in at #6 and was the creation of winemaker Daniel Gehrs. This wine was also the wine of choice served at the White House on February 1, 1996 for the French President Jacques Chirac official State Dinner. 


It was Daniel Gehrs who realized that while Zaca Mesa’s vineyards were too far inland from the coast to produce quality Pinot Noir, and not quite hot enough to produce quality Cabernet Sauvignon, they turned out to be ideal for Rhône Varietals. The soil, climate, and altitude of the Zaca Mesa vineyards were great not only for Syrah, but also for Roussanne, Viognier, Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault, and Grenache Blanc which were planted in the 1990’s and 2000’s.


Since 1997, the vineyard and winemaking practices have focused on growing the best Syrah, Viognier, and other Rhône varieties. Since then, Zaca Mesa has ripped out over half the original vines, and replaced them with high-density plantings of new rootstock and clone combinations to significantly improve quality. The result is Zaca Mesa wines consistently receive high scores and praise industry wide.


In 2010, another Zaca Mesa Syrah (the 2006 vintage produced by Clay Brock) burst through with a #29 ranking in Wine Spectator’s Top 100. Eric Mohseni became head winemaker in 2008 and consistently produces 90+ scores, including the #59 Wine Enthusiast ranking of the 2009 Black Bear Block Syrah. 


Eric spearheaded Zaca Mesa fruit sales over the years to the point where the farming and winery operation need attention from a Director’s perspective to get the best quality production from the vineyard.  By proving her wine-making talent with the Homage series, Kristin’s promotion is a fitting and natural step in her development. In 2016, Eric Mohseni was promoted to Director of Vineyard and Winery Operations and Kristin Bryden was promoted to Winemaker. 


John Cushman, along with his brother Lou, became 100% owners of Zaca Mesa in 1988. Still family owned and deeply rooted in Central Coast winemaking tradition, Zaca Mesa is a place where you can enjoy quality made wine in a rustic setting among the mountains and scattered oaks.

Read More


Our vineyard is located in the northern most portion of Santa Ynez Valley AVA within Santa Barbara County. Unlike most of California’s coast, our valleys orient east-west, opening to the Pacific Ocean’s influences with its cooling morning fog and afternoon breeze. We are about 25 miles from the Pacific Ocean.

We first planted our vines in 1973 and we have 244 plantable acres on our 750 acre estate. Our soils are mostly Chamise Loam which are well-drained soils that developed over gravelly beds of silt and clay, and sandy water-deposited materials. Chamise soils normally contain a large number of water-rounded fragments of Monterey Shale. These soils are on dissected high terraces (or mesas) in widely scattered areas with elevations of 1500 feet above sea level. The higher elevation provides lower high temperatures and higher low temperatures for slow consistent ripening.


With few other vineyards in the area to learn from, the vineyard was originally planted with numerous varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Grenache, Chardonnay, and Syrah to see what would work. In 1978, Zaca Mesa was the first to plant Syrah in Santa Barbara County and over the years we have learned that the grapes varieties indigenous to the Rhône valley of France (Syrah, Grenache, Mouvrèdre, Cinsault, Viognier, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc) prosper in our vineyard.

Since 1997, we have focused on growing Syrah, Viognier and other Rhône varieties. We have ripped up over half the original vines, replacing them with high-density planting of new rootstock and clone combinations. We now have 10 clones of Syrah and the most high-density vineyard acres in the county.

Zaca Mesa “Estate Grown and Bottled” wines assures you a unique, terroir-based wine experience to share with your friends and family.

Read More

Inside information

Our team here at Zaca Mesa Winery consists of a wide variety of personalities and backgrounds. The most important thing we have in common is our dedication to creating and selling a product we are passionate about. It takes a family to get great wine to your table, take a look below at the people in the forefront of the operation.

Read More

9 different wines with 14 vintages


Latest news

TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS 100 Best Champagnes for 2020  / Dom Pérignon is a winner again!
WINERY NEWS Warre's / The New Normal 2019 Douro Harvest Report It is easy for visitors to the Douro to assume that  more ...
WINERY NEWS Diamond Creek Vineyards / Louis Roederer Champagne to buy Diamond Creek Vineyards Roederer is about to add another gem, Dia  more ...
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS One of the most famous names in the global wine trade, Michael Broadbent MW, has died aged 92. / Robert Joseph remembers Michael Broadbent MW, who led an extraordinary life in wine.
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS BWW 2020 - Best Wine Shop of the World have been selected  / Millésima from France is the Winner.
WINE NEWS: Sassicaia 2017 / Sassicaia 2017 released – “a wild, exotic beauty” By Liv-ex Sassicaia 2  more ...
WINE NEWS: Sir Winston Churchill 2009 / Pol Roger, Sir Winston Churchill 2009 released By Liv-ex This morning, Pol Roger Sir Wins  more ...
WINE NEWS: Hermitage La Chapelle 2016 / Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage Chapelle 2017 released – “a magical wine in the making&rdqu  more ...
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS Champagne Henriot announces the appointment of its new Wine Maker, Alice Tétienne / Champagne Henriot is very pleased to welcome Alice Tétienne as its new Wine Maker, starting from April 1st, 2020.
WINERY NEWS Château Cantenac-Brown / Margaux third growth Château Cantenac Brown has been sold to Frenchman Tristan Le Lous for an   more ...
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS PENFOLDS GRANGE VERTICAL BREAKS AUCTION RECORD / A set of Penfolds Grange, dating from 1951 to 2015, has been sold for a record AU$372,800, comfortably beating the previous auction price for a similar vertical of $349,500.
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS BWW 2020 - Best Wine Critics of the World have been selected! / The Best Wine Critic of the World -title was awarded to Neal Martin.
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS BWW 2020 - Voting for the Best Wine Critic of the World is over. / Wine Critics received 218,966 votes from 56 countries.
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS DRAKE LAUNCHES 2008 VINTAGE CHAMPAGNE PRICED AT $550 A BOTTLE / Having unveiled his first Mod Sélection Champagnes at the start of the year, Canadian rapper Drake is ending the year by launching two 2008 vintage expressions priced at US$480 and $550 a bottle.
TASTINGBOOK WINE NEWS LOUIS ROEDERER LAUNCHES FIRST ‘BIODYNAMIC’ CRISTAL / Louis Roederer has announced the release of the 2012 vintage of Cristal, the first to be made from 100% biodynamically farmed grapes.
WINERY NEWS Henri Boillot / VINTAGE 2017 /  I love this vintage! Winter is once again not dry and cold enough and this i  more ...
VINTAGE NEWS: 1959 / 1959 the unemployment problems eased to 5.5%. Television programmes included "Rawhide"  more ...

Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Michel Jamais, Wine Writer (Sweden)  tasted  5 wines  from  Zaca Mesa . In a tasting of  11 wines 

2007 Pinot Noir Comptche Ridge Vineyard / 92 p Grapes for this wines is purchased from a tiny vineyard, 0.80 hectares, north of Navarro Vineyards but outside the appellation of Anderson Valley, hence the generic Mendocino County designation. It's owned by the Weir family and planted to the old Pinot Noir clone from Swan Vineyards in Russian River Valley. It's just a few miles from the coast, so it's a very cool site.
To be a Pinot Noir, color is quite dark, but that's not so unusual for Pinot Noir grown in such cold regions, where the grapes gets small and the skin grows thick. It's a lovely wine with a great personality and a quite intense perfume of dark cherries, ripe wild raspberries and sloe, and there's almost a Gevrey-Chambertin like punch to it as well. The oak, just 20 percent new, is beautifully well integrated, and alcohol at 13.7 percent. Therefore it's no surprise the one may put it in Burgundy if tasting it blind. It's medium bodied but intense and very silky, with a slightly sweetish texture and a lively acidity. I tasted it the first time a year ago, and again some months later, and found it to be a bit closed in the finish then, but now it's lovely. I prefer to decant it just prior to pouring it, so the aromas evolve a bit.
This time, I left a glass in the bottle to taste the day after, and although I still loved it for its intensity and lingering aftertaste, I missed some of the more aromatic perfumes from when it was newly opened.

3m 19d ago

 Zaca Mesa  has updated producer and wine information

3m 19d ago

Incorrect Information
If you found some information that is wrong, let us know


We recommend you to share few minutes for watching the following video instructions of how to use the Tastingbook. This can provide you a comprehensive understanding of all the features you can find from this unique service platform.

This video will help you get started

Taste wines with the Tastingbook

Create Your wine cellar on 'My Wines'

Explore Your tasted wines library

Administrate Your wine world in Your Profile

Type a message ...
Register to Tastingbook
Register now, it's fast, easy and totally free. No commitments, only enjoyments.