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Cushman Family of Zaca Mesa Winery Announce the Launch of TREAD Wines

Posted on March 10, 2021


March 10, 2021 (Santa Ynez Valley, CA) — The Cushman family, longtime Santa Barbara wine family and owners of Zaca Mesa Winery & Vineyards, is pleased to announce the launch of TREAD, a new wine label celebrating the diversity of Santa Barbara County through site-driven Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines. 

For nearly 50 years, the Cushmans have been driven by a trailblazing spirit and passion for quality viticulture, which they’ve continuously exhibited through their commitment to producing character-driven wines from their estate vineyards in Santa Barbara County. This extensive experience amongst the vines, coupled with their passion for the region, ultimately inspired the family’s newest endeavor – TREAD. 

Dedicated to two of Santa Barbara’s most renowned grapes, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, TREAD sources fruit from some of the region’s finest cool-climate growing sites for their small-production wines, including such esteemed vineyards as Zotovich Vineyard and La Encantada Vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA, and Sierra Madre Vineyard and Bien Nacido Vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley AVA. Representing the connection between grape and site, vineyard and winemaker, TREAD Wines are thoughtfully crafted to reveal a true sense of place, paying tribute to the diversity of the Santa Barbara region.

“TREAD may be a new venture, but it’s not entirely new in the sense that it’s more of an evolution from what we’ve been doing at Zaca Mesa,” says Stewart Cushman, President of Zaca Mesa. “We first planted Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards on our property in the mid-1970s, and while we made great wines from these varieties, we wanted to turn our attention to Rhône varieties, which we discovered really thrived in our particular location in the Santa Ynez Valley. Not taking away from the purity of that focus, TREAD allows us to return to our roots, sourcing fruit from top sites to explore the special qualities of these grapes in other parts of Santa Barbara County.”

Inspired by the land the Cushman family has tread upon for years, the name ‘TREAD’ further signifies the powerful connection between vineyard site and winemaker. Explains Winemaker Kristin Bryden, “As a winemaker, having a connection to the vineyard is incredibly important. When you’re in the vineyard a lot, you not only form a connection to the grapes, but you also recognize how many boots have tread upon the ground, so you can’t help but respect all the hard work that goes into nurturing the vines and all the people it takes to make quality wine. It’s with that awareness that we craft TREAD wines to reflect the site, taking a very minimalistic, honest approach in order to capture a pure expression of each varietal and allow the vineyard to come through in the bottle.”

The TREAD portfolio features six wines, including single vineyard wines and blends, from cool-climate sites in the Santa Maria Valley and Sta. Rita Hills AVAs. Seated tastings of TREAD wines are available at the new Club Lounge & Terrace at Zaca Mesa Winery, where guests can sample current releases from the intimate indoor-outdoor setting of the lounge and terrace, enhanced by views of the surrounding vineyards and San Rafael Mountains. 

With goals of becoming a benchmark for Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, TREAD is the Cushman family’s newest way to share their passion for the region. Adds Cushman, “TREAD is about remembering our family’s history and where we started, but also recognizing how diverse Santa Barbara County truly is and respecting this place in its entirety. TREAD is our way of honoring the land we hope to walk amongst for many more years to come.”


For over 45 years, the Cushman family, owners of Zaca Mesa Winery & Vineyards, have pressed forward with integrity and intention, driven by their trailblazing spirit and passion for quality viticulture. Honoring the family’s love for the region and willingness to take a step in a new direction, they embarked on a new venture — TREAD Wines. TREAD crafts ultra-premium, site-driven Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines dedicated to showcasing the diversity of Santa Barbara County. 

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