102021 Zaca Mesa

Zaca Mesa Winery & Vineyards promoted winemaker Kristin Bryden to the role of general manager.

Head winemaker Kristin Bryden at Zaca Mesa Winery & Vineyards in Los Olivos will add to her responsibilities the role of general manager as a promotion and strategic change aimed at furthering the company's long-term operational goals, according to the winery.

“As we looked ahead through a strategic lens, we recognized that certain changes could be made to propel our organization to new heights," said winery owner Stewart Cushman.

Former General Manager Paul Pease has been tapped as the new director of sales, where his extensive background in sales will come into play, Cushman said. 

" ... 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," Cushman said. "We are confident these well-thought-out decisions will enhance the long-term vision for our company.”

Bryden joined the family-owned winery in 2011 as assistant winemaker and was appointed head winemaker in 2016. She has since "led with passion, enthusiasm and a respect for terroir to continuously deliver wines that reflect the unique nuances of Zaca Mesa’s estate vineyards," according to Cushman.

“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,” he said.

The Cushman family recently launched its newest venture, TREAD — a collection of craft pinot noir and chardonnay wines — that pays tribute to the diversity of the Santa Barbara region with fruit sourced from some of the area's finest cool-climate growing sites, according to the label description.

“I’m honored to continue my journey with Zaca Mesa as winemaker and now general manager,” Bryden said. “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.”

Lisa André covers lifestyle and local news for Santa Ynez Valley News and Lompoc Record, editions of the Santa Maria Times.

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