Our Origin Story and Philosophy

Born and raised in Santa Barbara County, specifically the Santa Ynez Valley, wine production was innately yet subconsciously manifesting within Zac Wasserman from a young age. As a child, Zac always had an affinity for nature. Drawn to the Los Padres National Forest, Zac explored the Figueroa Mountain range via hike and cycle. Intrigued by the Pacific Ocean, Zac immersed himself in the thresholds of the Santa Barbara Channel through surf and swim. Energized by the California sunshine, Zac absorbed the radiant heat off sandy beaches. Zac’s circle of friends socialized in a physical dialogue, sharing adventures inspired by the Earth. Conversation was not necessary, as the exhilaration they experienced was ubiquitous and tangible without words. Zac believes the accumulation of formative events associated with Earth sowed the seeds that would inspire his passion for producing wine grown in Santa Barbara County

In contrast to his love and attraction to Santa Barbara’s outdoor institutions, Zac had a longing for more social and intellectual evolution. This inspired his dedication to academics and desire to attend university outside of Santa Barbara. Zac’s intention and diligence in this endeavor delivered him to Berkeley – where he completed his Bachelors in Science, studying Molecular Biology. The devotion to this curriculum was decidedly motivated by his love of Earth’s infinite beauty and complexity – a “CliffsNotes” study of western thought’s explanation of the universe. Unwittingly, these academic efforts established his literacy of math, physics, chemistry, and biology; each powerful lever of wine.

Following the completion of his undergraduate studies, Zac intended to continue his journey in the sciences via a master’s or doctorate program – but found himself hesitant, considering the debt he already accumulated from school loans. He decided a break from the academic world would be advisable and returned to the Santa Ynez Valley for familiar landscapes and the company of lifetime loved ones.

“The most powerful aspects of wine are those we cannot control.”

In his return home, an opportunity in wine was presented to Zac, and he nonchalantly walked through that door with zero expectations. He saw it as a means to an end – to make money, survive, and pay off his school loans. But this door led to many others; all of which Zac walked through with his sights on the horizon, choosing the course with the highest ceilings and most auspicious possibilities.

Zac Wasserman and Jonathan Willis posing with bottles of Frequency Rosé at the fountain in the tasting room courtyard
Zac (Winemaker) and Jonathan (Asst. Winemaker) take time for a quick Rosé break on our patio.

Tuning In to His Craft

Zac respects the craft and history of wine so much, that he’s reluctant to call himself a winemaker. An outline of winemaking philosophy would just be a list of stolen quotes and techniques he has hijacked from wine growers and winemakers he looks up to… ideology he believes – but did not create. Picasso exposed this bluntly – “good artists copy, great artists steal.” As creators, they look to others to replicate proven procedures and methods. In producing wine, they choose a concoction of critical decisions – all of which are decisions that have been made innumerable times, over a millennia of vintages, by those before them – with the hope to design a product that they believe in… and it is this that matters – their target and intention they work to create; a product that they believe in.

Zac firmly believes the most powerful aspects of wine are those that can’t be controlled. It is the vintage, the exposure, the soil, the hillside’s grade… the true characteristics of the vine interacting with the site. It is therefore their job to deliver a final expression that honestly depicts the unique result of a varietal at a specific site. With the seemingly infinite options of wine in the world – the only unique assets they hold – are the origins of their fruit. Zac is grateful and proud to be a product of Santa Barbara County as a human, inspired to devote his life’s work to sharing the magnificence of Santa Barbara through wine.

a dozen or so bottles of Frequency Select 2017 Graciano Syrah on a shelf at our tasting room in Santa Barbara

Explore Our Wines

Now that you’re tuned in to our philosophy and why we make our wines, visit our online store and order something extraordinary.

And visit our tasting room in Santa Barbara to enjoy our wines & hospitality in person!