Eric & Kristin's Promotion

Effective January 1, 2016, Eric Mohseni was promoted from Winemaker to Director of Vineyard and Winery Operations and Kristin Bryden was promoted from Associate Winemaker to Winemaker. Eric spearheaded Zaca Mesa fruit sales over the last three years to the point where the farming operation and winery operation need attention from a Director’s perspective to get the best quality production from the vineyard. Eric’s background as enologist, assistant winemaker, and winemaker at Zaca Mesa will help the Zaca Mesa vineyard produce the best fruit not only for Zaca Mesa, but also for the producers who buy Zaca Mesa fruit. As more fruit sales are contracted, Zaca Mesa fruit will become more and more in demand by quality wine producers.
By proving her wine-making talent with the Homage series, Kristin’s promotion into this role is a fitting and natural step in her development as well as the strategic direction of Zaca Mesa. There is no doubt that Kristin not only earned this promotion, but she will soon be making a mark in the wine industry that will reach well beyond Santa Barbara County. Through hiring and developing Kristin Bryden’s talent, Eric Mohseni has followed the tradition of Zaca Mesa’s first winemaker, Ken Brown, bringing in the likes of Jim Clendenen and Bob Lindquist. The difference here is Zaca Mesa will be able to keep this talent in house by allowing both Eric and Kristin to continue their professional career development as well as contributing to the future strategic success of Zaca Mesa.
One other comment I would like to add I must say these are well-earned and deserved promotions. Congratulations to Eric and Kristin!
Paul R Pease
General Manager

Harvest Report 2015 at Zaca Mesa Wineyards

1. When did you begin harvest? 
Our harvest got going in the second week of August.
2. Did everything come in at once?
Even with the early harvest, our grape picks were spread out nicely.
3. Was harvest earlier than normal?
Definitely, this harvest lined up pretty closely with last year’s harvest timing, both of which ran roughly three weeks ahead of normal for us. The biggest difference is that the lighter crop this year shortened the overall length of the harvest.
4. Any labor problems at harvest time?
We had no issues with getting labor this year – last two years were definitely a different story.
5. Did you harvest a normal volume of grapes?
We are definitely down in crop size compared to 2012, 2013 and 2014. Certain grapes had a really low set (pollination) this year with that cool, breezy May. Grapes like Syrah, Viognier and Roussanne were especially down compared to normal. Some blocks set less than 1 ton/acre. Grenache and Grenache Blanc seemed to fare the best. They had a really balanced crop with some beautiful fruit.
6. When was harvest completed?
Harvest for us ended in the 3rd week of September. The light crop size led to a pretty quick harvest and the 3 heat waves from mid-August through early September didn’t help.
7. What about cluster size?
Cluster size was smaller than usual. We saw some really small clusters with our Grenache blocks, which normally produces clusters of a larger size. That meant we didn’t have to clip the clusters wings or tips this year, which helped with farming costs.
8. What about Brix/acidity?
Wine chemistry was pretty perfect this year. With the light crop we were able to get some nice flavors at 22.5 - 23.5 brix, along with nice TAs and pHs. We were happy.
9. Was crop size/quality affected at all by drought/heat?
I don’t think there is much doubt that the fourth year in a row of drought really had an effect on the vines. To add to the issue, the last few winters were unusually warm, preventing the vines from really going dormant. Let’s hope we get a few cold winters with lots of rain to help get things back to normal.
10. Did you experience any disease or pest problems this year?
We saw an increase with the symptoms of Eutypa on the vines this year, which is a pathogen that kills off parts of the vine’s cordons (arms) and can eventually kill the vine. Apparently, it has become a growing issue in the valley. Its increase could be in part due to the amplified stress the vines are under with our drought conditions, but we’re not quite sure.

Zaca Mesa Syrahs Shine in Wine Advocate Issue!

The release of these fantastic scores on our 2011 and 2012 Syrah’s from Jeb Dunnuck are a tribute to the amazing job our winemaking and vineyard team do here at Zaca Mesa. Their focus on quality continues to yield some of the top Syrah’s made in California. Make sure you get your hands on a few of these special Syrah offerings before they are gone!

 Check out the scores:

2011 Zaca Mesa Syrah - 89 Points
The 2011 Syrah incorporates a tiny splash of Viognier and spent 16 months in 18% new French oak. Its vibrant purple color is followed by classic Syrah characteristics of savory herbs, graphite, dried pepper and darker fruits. Medium to full-bodied, nicely concentrated, ripe and with some chewy tannin, it still shines for its pretty, pure fruit and solid overall balance. It's a good value, has lots to like, and is well worth checking out.



2011 Zaca Mesa Syrah Mesa Reserve - 90 Points
A terrific Syrah in what was undoubtedly California's most difficult vintage in the past decade, the 2011 Syrah Mesa Reserve is medium to full-bodied, balanced and nicely concentrated, with lots of cool-climate white pepper, crushed herbs, cedar and sweet blackberry fruit. Aged 21 months in 35% new French oak (completely destemmed), it comes from two blocks in their estate vineyard and there are just over 1,000 cases available. Drink it anytime over the coming 5-6 years.

$48 for Non-Club / $38.40 for Club Members


2012 Zaca Mesa Syrah Chapel G - 90 Points
Coming from a single block that was planted in 2008 and named after a small chapel built on the edge of the property, the 2012 Syrah Chapel G is a beauty that shows the more sunny style of the vintage, especially since it followed the cooler climate '11s. Possessing pretty notes of black raspberries, raspberries, rose petal, lavender and a touch of bay leaf, it's medium-bodied, nicely focused, pure and elegant. The tannin here is a step up over the '11s, and while it offers tons of pleasure now, I suspect it will evolve nicely going forward.

$48 for Non-Club / $38.40 for Club Members


2012 Zaca Mesa Syrah Eight Barrel - 90 Points
A barrel selection of Syrah lots from different cooperages, the 2012 Syrah Eight Barrel (18 months in 40% new French oak) is another pretty, classy Syrah that offers plenty of black raspberry, toasted bread, spice and a touch of vanilla bean. Nicely textured, balanced and elegant, with medium-bodied richness, it too offers plenty of enjoyment today but will hold nicely through 2022.
$48 for Non-Club / $38.40 for Club Members


Also, a new top score from Wine Spectator Magazine…

2011 Zaca Mesa Z Three 90 Points

Appealingly dense and focused. Savory aromas of smoky herb and raspberry lead to zesty flavors of plum, anise and cedar. The tannins are ripe but have pleasant mineral accent. Syrah, Mourvedre and Grenache. – T.F.
$46 for Non-Club / $36.80 for Club Members

Zaca Mesa Releases First New Label in 13 years

Since Zaca Mesa’s birth in 1973, there have been six different wine labels, each representing a time in the winery’s history. Over the past 42 years, Zaca Mesa’s labels have been colorful and abstract as well as classic. With all this variety in our history, we decided to embark on a quest for a new label which represents just that: our history.

When designing this new label, the winemaking team chose a representation that captures Zaca Mesa’s commitment to tradition. Zaca Mesa’s Head Winemaker, Eric Mohseni wanted an icon that was already “familiar with our customers, and community,” and was the first to suggest using our classic barn. Zaca Mesa’s Associate Winemaker, Kristin Bryden also pointed out that “the barn is a symbol of our pioneering spirit and represents the timeless approach that Zaca Mesa has to winemaking.” With that in mind, the team decided that the barn should be featured on the newest Zaca Mesa label.

Zaca Mesa’s barn has been housing the winery since 1978. While others have opted for large batch production, we have chosen to stay true to our roots. For over 40 years, winemakers such as Ken Brown, Bob Lindquist and Daniel Gehrs have begun learning the art of winemaking in the same rustic barn our label proudly displays today.

Zaca Mesa’s barn is the heart of the wine making process, making it an ideal icon to represent Zaca Mesa’s values. Our commitment to family, tradition, authenticity and quality are reflected in this new symbol. Now, when people imagine Zaca Mesa, we hope that they see our barn. We hope that they imagine thousands of barrels cradling wine, the sun aging the barn’s beautiful brown wood, and our people inside, hand crafting wine the old-fashioned way.

An Interview with Ruben Camacho

Ruben Camacho Senior has been an integral part of the team at Zaca Mesa for over 30 years. No one knows the land as well as Ruben and his knowledge is invaluable in making quality wine. He is a fountain of information, support and good spirits and we are incredibly thankful to have him! 

We recently got the chance to ask Ruben about his time at Zaca Mesa and some of his favorite memories: 

Q: How long have you been working at Zaca Mesa? 

A: 37 years.

Q: Can you tell us more about that journey? 

A: I came to the U.S in 1975, and actually started working at Zaca Mesa in 1977. I started as a regular field worker for 7 years. Then I got promoted as a manager and I have been in that position ever since.  

Q: In all that time, you have probably tried a lot of Zaca Mesa wines! Which is your favorite? 

A: I love all Zaca Mesa wines! 

Q: Do you have a favorite wine pairing, perhaps? 

A: Zaca Mesa Z Three with Tri-Tip Carne Asada style

Q: Do you have a favorite part of the growing season? 

A: Pruning season is my favorite because the cool weather makes it nicer to be working outside. 

Q: What is your favorite part of your job here at Zaca Mesa? 

A: Harvest season because after working hard a full year harvest season means it all coming to an end.

Q: What is your favorite Zaca Mesa memory that you want to share with our customers? 

A: My favorite memory is of when my two dogs, Chispa and Bingo, chased a Black Bear up a tree in the Mesa H block of the vineyard. And that’s where the name Black Bear Block came from! 

Thank you for all of your amazing work Ruben! We truly couldn’t do it without you.