Our Team

Our Team

Kristin Bryden Headshot 2021
Kristin Bryden Winemaker & General Manager

Winemaker & General Manager

Originally from Redding, California, Kristin first came to the Central Coast to attend California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, graduating with a degree in Food Science. After working for several wineries, including Wild Horse Winery and Vineyard and Lockwood Vineyard, she gained a profound respect for estate wine programs, furthering her belief that great wines are made in the vineyard.Recognizing the importance of being able to observe the vines throughout the growing season to craft wines with a true sense of place, Kristin was drawn to Zaca Mesa Winery and Vineyards’ estate program in Santa Barbara County. She joined the team in 2011 as Assistant Winemaker and was promoted to Head Winemaker in 2016, bringing her passion, enthusiasm, and keen palate to the wines that reflect Zaca Mesa’s unique vineyard site.Kristin is happy to call the Central Coast her home, where she enjoys hiking, water skiing, camping, and spending as much time outdoors in her downtime as possible.

Andrew Keil Associate Winemaker

Associate Winemaker

After graduating high school in San Luis Obispo, Andrew went to UC Irvine to study Economics. He spent nine years in the Air Force before following a passion for fermentation at Oregon State University where he graduated with a degree in Food Science & Technology with an emphasis in Enology and Viticulture. Since then, he has immersed himself in every aspect of the winemaking process, working harvests and in cellars in Oregon, Washington, Texas, and in California’s Napa Valley and Central Coast. He loves to cook (and eat, of course!) and enjoys trying new recipes on the grill or smoker and sharing them with family and friends. In his free time, you can catch Andrew golfing, hiking, reading, fishing, and watching live sports.

Stewart Cushman Headshot 2020
Stewart Cushman President


Stewart Cushman has led the Cushman family's management of Zaca Mesa since 1999 and became President in 2020. Stewart obtained his Bachelor's degree from U.C. Santa Barbara and an MBA from Georgetown University. An active real estate investor, Stewart has developed, acquired, and re-imagined hotel, office, industrial, and land properties across the country. He has worked closely with hotel management companies to improve the operations of restaurants, retail, and hotel operations. In his spare time, Stewart loves to escape to the great outdoors. He enjoys camping, fly fishing, and surfing with his family, as well as, of course, exploring in search of great culinary and fine wine experiences.

Agustin Headshot 2020
Agustin Robles Cellar Master

Cellar Master

Born in Jalisco, Mexico, Agustin grew up learning the family business: commercial farming. He gained an appreciation for how the land and seasons affect the growing and harvesting of corn, chilies, tomatoes, beans, and garbanzos. In 1981, at just 17 years old, he moved to the Santa Ynez Valley and got his very first job with Zaca Mesa Winery. His first years were spent working in the vineyard with Ruben Camacho. After learning the ropes of the vineyard for a few years, he moved inside the winery to work with the wine, not the vines, and became Cellar Master in 1988. Agustin has been working at Zaca Mesa for over half his life. On Sundays, you can find Agustin at his favorite place to eat: Los Alamos’ legendary Full of Life Flatbread restaurant. He loves the beach, weekend trips to San Francisco, playing all sports, and BBQing.

Ruben Headshot 2020
Ruben Camacho Vineyard Manager

Vineyard Manager

Ruben Camacho Sr. came to the US in 1975. He was hired by Zaca Mesa in 1977 as a tractor driver. The previous vineyard manager taught Ruben everything he knows about the vineyards. After seven years of hard vineyard work, Ruben was promoted to Vineyard Manager. Zaca Mesa’s Black Bear Syrah was named after Ruben’s experience in 1978. While in the Mesa H block of the vineyard, he noticed a black bear eating the soon to be famous Syrah grapes. His dogs, Bingo and Chispa, bravely protected the grapes and chased the black bear up a tree. That section of the vineyard was renamed the Black Bear Block and has been producing amazing grapes ever since. Over 30 years of experience has made Ruben probably the most important person in Zaca Mesa’s history with his knowledge of the land, fountain of information, support, and great spirit.

Hilary Key Headshot
Hilary Key Direct to Consumer Manager

Direct to Consumer Manager

Hilary Key was promoted to our Direct to Consumer Manager after she joined the Zaca Mesa team in the summer of 2021 as our Tasting Room Manager. Her passion for hospitality & service make her a wonderfully caring person to manage our Wine Club memberships and Tasting Room Operations. She caught the wine bug after a chef she worked with recommended pursuing sommelier training as she was constantly excited about all things wine. Her love and passion for wine continued to grow, so she began taking classes with the Court of Master Sommeliers and the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, obtaining her Level 1 Sommelier certification and her WSET Level 2 award. Her current favorite wine at Zaca Mesa is the 2018 Recusant Amphora – our Grenache and Mourvèdre blend aged in 100% clay amphora – due to its texture and soft tannic structure. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and three kids, cooking, and the great outdoors (she somehow usually ends up at a winery after a hike...)

Tara Creighton Headshot
Tara Creighton Events Manager

Events Manager

Tara joined the Zaca Mesa team in the summer of 2021 and became our Events Manager in early 2022. She was born in Santa Barbara and moved to the Santa Ynez Valley when she was just two years old, calling the Valley home ever since. After she turned 21, Tara knew she wanted to work in the wine industry - she blames growing up surrounded by such beautiful vineyards and gorgeous wine country! She began by working for Melville Winery at their Lompoc location and credits them for growing both her knowledge and passion for wine. At Zaca Mesa, Tara's favorite wines are the TREAD Chardonnay, Zaca Mesa Rose of Grenache, and the incomparable Black Bear Block Syrah. When she isn't at the winery, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, walking, hiking, going to the beach, and trying new wines.

Karolina Robles Assistant Wine Club Manager

Assistant Wine Club Manager

Karolina hails from our very own Santa Ynez Valley. Although relatively new to the wine industry, growing up in the valley and being surrounded by all its wineries gave her an innate curiosity in all things wine. She is excited to be a part of a winery with so much history and enjoys working with such awesome and fun co-workers! Her favorite wines so far are the TREAD Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir and the Cushman Block Viognier. Outside of the winery, Karolina enjoys playing pickleball (big fan, here!), trying out new foods & restaurants, and going thrifting.

Chris standing in front of vineyards wearing a blue t-shirt.
Chris "Fish" Acosta Laboratory Technician

Laboratory Technician

Chris, better known by his nickname "Fish", first joined the Zaca Mesa family in the tasting room. Following his deep interest in the winemaking process, he worked the 2022 harvest as our Harvest Intern before moving into the cellar as our Laboratory Technician. With a great passion for wine and the culinary arts, Fish also enjoys ocean fishing, spending time with his family and pets, and hunting for fossils and rocks.

Photo of Josh in blue shirt standing in front of Zaca Mesa's barn.
Josh Dean Marketing & Social Media Coordinator

Marketing & Social Media Coordinator

Josh was born in West Palm Beach, Florida, but moved to Santa Maria during his high school years. He later attended California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. During his tenure at Cal Poly, Josh had the privilege of collaborating with the Wine and Viticulture Department, managing their social media accounts and assisting with donor relations. His role provided him the unique opportunity to document and report from some of California's most esteemed wine regions, including Napa Valley, Paso Robles, and Monterey. When Josh isn't busy capturing and sharing life at Zaca Mesa, you can find him enjoying some of his favorite activities at the beach: sleeping on the warm sand, scuba diving, and exploring tide pools.

Carey Villasenor Headshot
Carey Villaseñor Brand Ambassador

Brand Ambassador

Carey feels fortunate to have grown up on both coasts after moving from California to North Carolina in high school. Before entering the wine industry, Carey joined the Navy where he received training in Advanced Electronics and SONAR in San Diego. After moving to Santa Barbara he continued to build his career in engineering until the wine industry started to catch his attention. He joined several wine clubs in Santa Barbara County and discovered a passion and curiosity for the art of wine. He left engineering for his first tasting room position in 2014, and hasn’t looked back since! He has experienced many sides of the industry - as a harvest intern, Sales & Operations Manager, Wine Buyer, and Hospitality Manager - and enjoys connecting with a wide diversity of people. For fun, Carey has found some great new hobbies including playing with toy trucks and building blocks thanks to his 2 year old! He also enjoys golf, shooting hoops, and spending time at the beach with his family.

Mark Headshot 2020
Mark Rosenberg Chief Financial Officer

Chief Financial Officer

Mark was born and raised in the west of England. There he studied Accounting, and after receiving his diploma, he worked with major accounting firms in England, West Africa, and Germany. Mark moved to California to escape the European weather and has held many financial management and executive positions. He is attracted to the wine business, particularly Zaca Mesa, because of the workplace setting and the small but diverse team environment. As our Chief Financial Officer at Zaca Mesa, Mark is responsible for all aspects of accounting, reporting, regulatory and tax compliance, and systems maintenance.

Awilda in front of green vines
Awilda Mercado Accounting Assistant

Accounting Assistant

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Awilda attended college there and received a degree in Accounting and Business Administration. Since receiving her degree, Awilda has held a variety of jobs in Santa Barbara County as an accountant. She worked for Mentor Corporation for 5 years before coming here to Zaca Mesa, where she has been for over 10 years as the Accounting Assistant. Although Awilda is not much of a wine drinker herself, she has a passion for food. When she is not at the winery, she enjoys tasting her way through different ethnic foods and trying new restaurants. Her favorite type of food is Indian or Middle Eastern.

Join Our Family

Want to make the most of Zaca Mesa? Sign up for one of our wine clubs to receive a special selection of wines chosen by our winemakers, invitations to exclusive member events, complimentary tastings, and more!