In earlier days, our forefathers defended the states’ historic missions of what would become California, and in return were granted various tracts of land in the Monterey and Santa Barbara counties. While the specifics of those plots have evolved over the last two centuries, our family has retained over 2,500 acres of this land between the coastal counties today.

Our ancestors have been farming the land for over a century. However, it was not until the early 1970’s that J. Luis Zabala was approached by investors from the community to plant the Zabala holdings with wine grapes. The site proved to be ideal for growing Chardonnay, as the demand for quality Californian wines quickly expanded.

Since the seventies, the vineyard has continued to expand. In the 1980’s, Luis Zabala Sr. passed ownership of the land to his five children, who continue his legacy by growing premium wine grapes in the family name. Zabala Vineyards now holds over one thousand acres of Chardonnay, Riesling, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Noir in one of California’s most unique viticultural regions, and contributes to the highest premium vineyard-designate wine bottlings from the Central Coast.

Zabala Vineyards is a private facility with no tasting services. Therefore, we are closed to the public at this time. 

Zabala Family Timeline

1793: The Spanish Zabala family defended the missions in coastal California, earning plots of land in Monterey and Santa Barbara. Earliest vines were planted concurrently with those of Wente, Mirassou, Paul Mason, and J. Lohr.

1875: Pedro Zabala, the great-grandfather of current owner Luis Zabala, was inducted into the Monterey County Agricultural Society on November 30th as a Life Member due to his lifelong contributions farming the family land. 

1932: Marcella Zabala, a Salinas-raised actress (1903-1983) married automobile entrepreneur Charles Howard in 1932. The two shared a love of horses and were responsible for the success of the popular racehorse Seabiscuit in the 1930’s. Marcella’s influence on the peninsula continued when she and her second husband Leslie Fenton founded the Carmel Retail Plaza that remains popular today in downtown Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.

1952: The Zabala agricultural family earned a reference in author John Steinbeck’s semi-historical novel “East of Eden.”

1972: Zabala Vineyards were planted with 300 acres of Chardonnay.

1984: J. Luis Zabala began managing the vineyard, eventually quadrupling the number of vines and adding four more varietals.

2010: Zabala Vineyards now cultivates over 1,000 acres of grapes and continues to grow.

Zabala Vineyards actively supports the following organizations:

Central Coast Vineyard Team (CCVT) - Promoting Sustainable Vineyard Practices along California’s Central Coast. Zabala Vineyards has also hosted research on the Biological Farming Project and The Clean Water Project with CCVT.

University of California at Davis Research Team – Zabala collaborates with the leading Enology and Viticulture program in the country to further its understanding of premium grape soils.

Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association (MCVGA) - A trade group promoting the Monterey brand for wines and grapes.

American Society of Enology and Viticulture (ASEV) – A professional society dedicated to the interests of enologists, viticulturists, and others in the fields of wine and grape research and production throughout the world.