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) – The Vineyard Team promotes 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.

Arroyo Seco Winegrowers (ASW) – Representing one of the oldest AVAs within Monterey County, the Arroyo Seco Winegrowers Association provides advocacy, marketing and support services to its winery and winegrower members by educating consumers, media and trade audiences on the distinct characteristics of the region in an effort to bring broader awareness to the Arroyo Seco American Viticultural Area.

Lodi Rules Sustainable Winegrowing Program – Zabala Vineyards has proudly been a certified sustainable winegrape grower for several years by this progressive program. The Lodi Rules is an innovative community with a history and commitment to farming quality winegrapes through the implementation of viticulture practices that balance environmental, social, and economic goals. This rigorous, science-based, third-party audited program was designed to communicate commitment to sustainable agriculture to wineries and the general public.

Monterey County Certified Organic Program (MCCO) – Zabala has been growing organically certified grapes since 2010. As the first county agency to be registered as an organic certifier in the state of California, MCCO uses their standards and procedures to enhance the credibility of organic agriculture as a viable systems approach of the preservation of our environment.

California Department of Food and Agriculture Organic Program – The CDF organic program ensures the validity and quality of agricultural products marketed a organic in the state of California.

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.

UC Davis Wine Executive Program – This elite program teaches the fundamentals of winemaking and management skills necessary to be profitable in today’s challenging and dynamic wine industry.

United Agribusiness League (UAL) – UAL strives to unite agribusinesses by providing members with economic solutions, benefits and services both domestically and internationally.