In 1973, John C. Cushman III, along with five friends, established Zaca Mesa as the third winery in all of Santa Barbara County. The winery gained prominence in 1978 when it became the first to plant Syrah in Santa Barbara County, and was instrumental in launching the Santa Barbara Rhône movement through an unwavering dedication to Syrah, Grenache, Viognier, and other Rhône varieties.
Half a century later, the pioneering winery is still owned by the Cushman family, with John's son, Stewart Cushman, at the helm. Stewart has remained committed to continuing his father's tradition of being a responsible steward of the land and furthering Zaca Mesa's exceptional reputation as a leading producer of high-quality, California Rhône-style estate wines.
John Cushman died at home May 4. He was 82, and is survived by his wife of nearly 60 years, four sons, ten grandchildren, and two brothers.
In lieu of flowers or other gestures, the Cushman family respectfully requests that individuals pay tribute to John's life by visiting a national park site or making a donation to the National Park Foundation.