Bob and Barb Zorich, Proprietors
Alma Rosa Proprietors Bob and Barb Zorich met at UC Santa Barbara, where they both graduated in 1971. After a stint in London, Bob & Barb settled in Houston and raised their three children, while Bob built a successful private equity company, Encap Investments, with business partners. Affection for their idyllic oceanside college town eventually led Bob and Barb back to Santa Barbara to purchase a second home.
In 2013, the Zorichs were introduced to Richard and Thekla Sanford, who were selling their ranch and winery, Alma Rosa. Fond of the region and its excellent Pinot Noirs, the Zorichs purchased Alma Rosa the following year, began expanding the estate vineyards and built a stunning tasting room in downtown Buellton.
Today, the Zorichs are committed to creating wines of quality and distinction that express the special terroir of the Sta. Rita Hills. In addition to Pinot Noir, the Zorichs have found that the cool climate created by the region’s unique East-West transverse mountain range is ideal for Chardonnay and some Rhone varietals. The Alma Rosa estate vineyard is now planted to 55% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay and 15% Syrah and Grenache. The next horizon for the family is building a new winery on the estate that incorporates the best winemaking practices, while honoring the land and environment.
Richard Sanford, Founder and Winery Ambassador
Richard Sanford was inducted into the Vintner’s Hall of Fame in 2012 for his contributions to the California wine industry. Following his service in Vietnam, Richard Sanford dreamed of discovering a West Coast climate zone similar to the Burgundy region of France and producing wine that would rival the best in the world. With a degree in Geography from UC Berkeley, he identified a remarkable geographic anomaly: the transverse mountain ranges of California where the valleys open to the west, allowing cool maritime air to moderate the growing climate.
After locating acreage with well-drained soils in the targeted climate zone, Richard planted the first Pinot Noir vineyard in the Central Coast in 1971 — the Sanford & Benedict Vineyard. A decade later, he and his wife Thekla founded Sanford Winery, where they produced award-winning wines for over 25 years.
In 2005, the Sanfords launched Alma Rosa Winery to pursue their commitment to organic farming and sustainable business practices. Today, those practices are continued by Bob & Barb Zorich, who purchased Alma Rosa Winery in 2014.
Nick De Luca, Winemaker
Winemaker Nick de Luca feels a strong commitment to sustainable vineyard and cellar practices consistent with the ethos of Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards. He describes his wines as fresh, seamless, and vibrant, appealing to both the mind and the soul. He has held posts in a wide range of Pinot Noir appellations, including at Byington Vineyard & Winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Williams-Selyem Winery in Healdsburg and Highfield Estate in Marlborough, New Zealand.
Nick de Luca‘s first wine harvest was 1996 at Cline Cellars in Sonoma Valley. Hired as a cellar rat, he quickly progressed through his career, mentored by several strong industry professionals such as Paul Hobbs and David Ramey. He became the Alma Rosa winemaker in 2014.
Nick lives with his wife and daughter in Buellton, California.
Debra Eagle, General Manager
Debra Eagle brings 25 years of wine industry experience to her position at Alma Rosa, having directed marketing and sales for some of the country’s most important wine brands, including the iconic Robert Mondavi Winery, multi-million case Sutter Home Winery and the exclusive BOND.
Eagle is overseeing the construction of the new state-of-the-art winery on Alma Rosa’s 628-acre estate, as well as focusing on the continued improvement of Alma Rosa’s vineyards and wines and the expansion of the winery’s distribution in select markets.
Northern California native Eagle holds her MBA from the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley, and a BA in Economics from Mills College. She is an avid reader, swimmer and hiker, and she and her husband are making the most of all that the coastal regions of Santa Barbara County have to offer.
David Burrola, Director of Sales & Hospitality
David Burrola grew up in Los Angeles, California where travel, tourism, and hospitality are pinnacle. From a “summer job” as a dishwasher at the Disneyland Resort, David discovered his passion for food and wine and eventually trained in classical French cuisine at Disney’s exclusive Club 33. After 6 1/2 years at Disneyland, he helped open Moreton Fig, a fine dining restaurant at the University of Southern California.
David has studied wine under Master Sommeliers. He currently holds the title of Level II Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers and is now preparing for Level III. He is also studying for his Certified Wine Educator certification through the Society of Wine Educators.
As the Director of Sales & Hospitality at Alma Rosa, David is focused on enhancing every aspect of the guest experience. He and his wife live in Lompoc.
Channing Jones, Club & E-Commerce Marketing Manager
Channing Jones is the Wine Club and E-Commerce Marketing Manager for Alma Rosa Winery. She grew up in Ojai, California, where she helped her grandfather work on the family vineyard and winery, Sagebrush Annies.
After graduating high school, Channing traveled the world to explore other cultures and create memories and experiences that she ultimately brought home. Upon returning to California with the desire to get back into the wine industry, Channing studied entrepreneurship at Santa Barbara City College, and she has made the wine business her focus for the past 6 years in Santa Barbara County.
Channing lives with her husband in Solvang, CA.