Winery Known as Santa Barbara Region’s Earliest Syrah Producer
Commercial real estate icon John Cushman today announced that his Zaca Mesa winery, vineyard and surrounding ranch are for sale. The longtime owner of one of Santa Barbara’s most magnificent, largely undeveloped properties, consisting of 750 acres in the Santa Ynez Valley, seeks the next steward for the land and the historic brand he started more than 40 years ago.
Cushman purchased the ranch with a group of friends in 1972. The first vineyards were planted in 1973, and the pioneering winery was built in 1978 and later expanded. That year, Zaca Mesa also planted the first Syrah in Santa Barbara County. Zaca Mesa holds one of the oldest winery permits in the region and has been solely owned by the Cushman family for more than 25 years, including an ownership stake by John Cushman’s twin brother, Lou Cushman, Vice Chairman of Cushman & Wakefield in Houston.
In the early 1990’s, it was determined that Rhône varietals were best suited to the property. In addition to Syrah, other estate varietals planted on the ranch include Grenache, Roussanne, Mourvedre and Viognier. The property’s flagship vineyard block, Black Bear Syrah, sells out every year and retails for more than $65 per bottle.
Cushman recently divested his remaining interest in Cushman & Wakefield, the real estate firm founded by his grandfather and where he had previously served as chairman. However, when the company merged with DTZ, his professional responsibilities increased even further. His global role with the new Cushman & Wakefield keeps him traveling close to 8,000 miles weekly, and he’s been named chairman of Cushman & Wakefield’s 100th year commemoration. This is in addition to many personal business interests and positions as an active board member, director or trustee of Callaway Golf, Boy Scouts of America, National Park Foundation, Urban Land Institute, Colgate University and Claremont Graduate University.
“My commercial real estate interests dictate that I can no longer devote the time and energy to the proper oversight of Zaca Mesa,” said Cushman. “After 40-plus years as the steward of this property and the Zaca Mesa brand, I am ready to pass it on to a new steward who can take it to new levels of success and preserve its unspoiled beauty.”
According to Cushman, there is no current residence on the property, but all three parcels that make up the picturesque ranch are zoned to accommodate residential development. Nearby estates are valued in the seven figures.
Assets of the ranch include a nearly 24,000 square foot barn-style winery production facility and tasting room, and approximately 150 acres of estate vineyards. Although the winery is currently producing just more than 40,000 cases annually, WineryX’s Katie Somple, the property’s listing broker, states that both the winery and vineyards are scalable for larger production.
“The winery’s permit allows for up to 100,000 cases to be produced,” said Somple, “and the vineyard is expandable by more than 100 acres, with ample water on the property to support additional vines.”
Interested buyers may contact listing agent Katie Somple at WineryX for more information at (707) 235-8585.