Staff Report


Zaca Mesa Winery & Vineyards, the family-owned winery with a long-standing history in Santa Barbara County, has announced that Winemaker Kristin Bryden has been promoted to the role of general manager/winemaker, and former General Manager Paul Pease is now heading all sales efforts as the director of sales — two planned strategic organizational changes that further Zaca Mesa’s long-term operational goals and growth, according to the winery. 

After joining Zaca Mesa Winery & Vineyards in 2011 as assistant winemaker, Bryden was appointed head winemaker in 2016. Since then, she has led with passion, enthusiasm and a respect for terroir to continuously deliver wines that reflect the unique nuances of Zaca Mesa’s estate vineyards. Most recently, Bryden helped the Cushman family launch their newest venture, TREAD — a collection of thoughtfully crafted Pinot noir and chardonnay wines that reveal a true sense of place. Sourcing fruit from some of the region’s finest cool-climate growing sites, TREAD wines are made to pay tribute to the diversity of the Santa Barbara region.

“Kristin has always shared in our belief that great wines are made in the vineyard, and as winemaker for Zaca Mesa and TREAD, she’s consistently demonstrated that notion through the wines, but she has also proven to us that her skill set translates far beyond the cellar and vineyard,” says owner Stewart Cushman, who shares that these internal role changes represent the first planned succession and promotion in Zaca Mesa’s history. “As we looked ahead through a strategic lens, we recognized that certain changes could be made to propel our organization to new heights. Paul has an extensive background in sales, so we knew it was time for him to hit the ground running to oversee and grow that side of the business, and transitioning Kristin into a greater leadership role would be the best way to let her expertise and ingenuity shine from an operational perspective. We are confident these well-thought-out decisions will enhance the long-term vision for our company.”

“I’m honored to continue my journey with Zaca Mesa as winemaker and now general manager,” says Bryden. “For nearly 50 years, the Cushmans have been driven by their trailblazing spirit, from viticulture to hospitality to operations, and it’s a privilege to be part of this tradition of evolution and growth. I look forward to upholding the integrity of the Zaca Mesa brand as I venture into this newly expanded leadership role, and am excited about what lies ahead.”

Established in 1973, Zaca Mesa Winery & Vineyards is a family owned and operated estate winery with a long-standing history in Santa Barbara County. Please visit and for more information.