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About Us


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.