“Creating ZIATA allows me to be involved in every step of the way
– from vineyard to table.”
After 20 years of marketing Napa Valley and its wines, Karen Cakebread launched ZIATA Wines in 2008. “I had two goals: to create beautifully structured wines that reflect the vineyards they come from; and to be involved in every aspect making wine.” She named the brand in honor of her mother, Mary, and hired Anne Vawter, a protégée of Heidi Barrett, as winemaker.
Karen started ZIATA in 2008 with two varietals, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, which she chose for their food-friendly qualities. In 2009, she added a Cabernet Franc to the portfolio. She remains involved in every aspect of her wine, from vineyard sourcing to harvesting, blending, bottling and selling.
“My mother, Mary, was one of the “Rosie the Riveter” women of WWII,” says Karen. After high school she moved to Seattle with a girlfriend and found a job working in the shipyards as an arc welder, which she loved.
“I find winemaking to be both an art and a trade—you learn by doing and working the vineyards, ensuring the fruit is the best it can be long before it’s picked is at least half the work of the winemaker”
Neela is my adorable Labrador. Unusually calm for her breed, Neela is the perfect buddy. She keeps me company in the office and loves riding in the car when delivering wine and checking vineyards. I know harvest is just around the corner when I catch her eating the sweet sauvignon blanc grapes on the home ranch.