Cecil & Marilyn Zerba

Cecil Zerba was born and raised in the Walla Walla Valley. The Zerba family’s roots in the Walla Walla Valley can be traced back to the 1850’s. Marilyn was born in Redmond, Oregon and moved to the Walla Walla Valley when she was nine years old. Cecil and Marilyn were married in September, 1981. At the time, Cecil was an electrician and Marilyn was a registered nurse. Soon after they were married, Cecil and Marilyn established Zerba Gardens, a local nursery producing quality plants and produce. “We started the nursery to keep the boys busy in the summer”, says Cecil. Over the next 20 years, Zerba Gardens grew into one of the valley’s most successful and trusted local nurseries. In 2001, Cecil and Marilyn Zerba left the nursery business and founded Winesap Vineyards.

Doug Nierman

Doug is a Washington native who grew up on a pear orchard in the upper Wenatchee Valley. His early interests in science and agriculture led him to study Tree Fruit Production (WVCC) and Biology (PLU). Later, when he became interested in growing grapes and making wine he moved his family to California where he worked at St. Francis Winery in Sonoma Valley and Napa Wine Co. in Napa Valley. After these work experiences he enrolled at the University of California, Davis, and obtained his Masters degree in enology and viticulture before moving to the Walla Walla Valley. He spent his first two years here working at Long Shadows Vintners and Pepper Bridge Winery before taking up the winemaking duties at Zerba Cellars. He views winemaking as an art that should be subtly guided and helped by science. This philosophy fits well with the artisanal winemaking and grape growing style Cecil established for Zerba Cellars with the intent to produce elegant, balanced wines that are food-friendly, approachable, and crafted with environmentally sustainable methods from grape to bottle.

Our Vineyards

Zerba Cellars is an Oregon winery located in the heart of the Walla Walla Valley. We produce approachable, food friendly wines that showcase the fruit without compromising the wine’s structure and overall balance. We have three estate vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley. Each was planted to take advantage of the Walla Walla Valley’s unique soil types and elevations. Our Jon Cockburn Ranch Vineyard is located in the Southeast corner of the valley, in the foothills of the Blue Mountains. Dad’s Vineyard is located in the “Touchet Beds”, near the state line. Winesap Road Vineyard is located in the rocky floodplain of the Walla Walla River.

Cockburn Vineyard

180 plantable acres in well drained, deep, silty-loam. Elevation 1100 – 1300 ft., row orientation east-west, spacing 9×4 feet. Every bottle of Zerba wine sources 70%-100% of its fruit from the Cockburn Vineyard.  Varieties: Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Dolcetto, Grenache, Malbec, Merlot, Mouvedre, Nebbiolo, Petit Verdot, Rousanne, Sangiovese, Syrah, Tempranillo and Viognier.

Dad’s Vineyard

Dad’s Vineyard was designed to be an independent, 5,000 case production winery with underground barrel storage, case storage and a tasting room. It is also home to our Foundation Block Vineyard. This vineyard was planted as a test block on 4 acres of deep clay and sandy loam at 800 ft. with 8½ by 4ft spacing. North-South row orientation. Varieties: Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Sangiovese, Barbera, Chardonnay, Roussanne and Semillon.

Winesap Road Vineyard

This site is our crush, fermentation, and plant production center. It is home to Winesap Vineyard, 12 acres planted in the rocky floodplain of the Walla Walla River. Elevation 850ft, row orientation east-west, spacing 8×3 feet. Varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.

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