About Summerland Winery
Founded in 2002 by Nebil “Bilo” Zarif, Summerland Winery produces quality, estate-grown wines derived from renowned vineyards across the Central Coast of California. Summerland’s estate vineyard, Theresa-Noelle, was planted in 2007 in the Santa. Rita Hills AVA. While Summerland focuses primarily on the production of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay varietals, Winemaker Etienne Terlinden also enjoys dabbling in expressive Rhône and Bordeaux iterations. Beyond the vineyards, Summerland has a beautiful tasting room located in the quaint seaside town of Summerland, California.
In 2016, Summerland Winery was awarded “Best Winery in Santa Barbara County” Reader’s Choice by the Santa Barbara Independent and Best Small Business by the Pacific Coast Business Times 2016 Spirit of Small Business Awards.
Raised in Iskenderun, Turkey, Bilo’s introduction to fine wine began at a young age. Zarif studied in Turkey, Lebanon, France, and England. His passion for fine and rare wines began in France where he was introduced to the regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Rhône Valley while studying in Paris. In 1978, Zarif graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science and Bachelor’s or Arts degree from the University of Denver in Colorado. He continued to study towards his Master’s degree with a minor in Energy Management.
Although his heart was in the wine industry early on, in 1979 Zarif founded Rock Oil, an oil and gas company, with the mentorship of Marvin Davis, one of the largest independent Wildcatter’s in the United States. He then sold Rock Oil in 1987 to Harken Oil & Gas and became the managing partner of Davco, an oil and commodities trading company out of New York. In 1990, he decided to operate a small cap take over and acquisition company under the name Zarif Companies. By 1992, he wanted to explore his dream of ranch living and purchased a ranch in Santa Barbara County. At 40, Zarif went to study Viticulture at UC Davis where he brought vine-growing knowledge into his profile.
In 1994, Zarif acquired 300 acres of land in the Cuyama Valley, a serene high elevation region of Santa Barbara County. Over the course of seven years he would expand Barnwood Vineyards to encompass more than 2,000 acres with 800 acres planted to vine.
It was during this time period that Zarif’s passion for wine would lead him to acquire the renowned Maison Deutz Winery in San Luis Obispo County with a partner he had met in the energy industry. Mr. Zarif expanded this property from 100 acres to approximately 690 acres of cool climate planted vine that encompassed 1,800 acres of ranch land and raised the stature of their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, bearing the name Laetitia Vineyard & Winery. Under his direction during his tenure at Laetitia and Barnwood vineyards, he achieved his projected goals by converting a 100,000 case sparkling winery to a still winery with distribution all over the United States and overseas.
His most notable contributions to the California wine industry include planting the highest elevation commercial vineyards in the state, which is by far the warmest and most conductive climate in Santa Barbara County for Rhone and Bordeaux varietals.
In 2001, Zarif sold his interests in Barnwood/ Laetitia to pursue a new and exciting venture: Summerland Winery. Drawing upon his years of experience in the region, Summerland is dedicated to offering the best wine experience on the Central Coast.
Over the years, Summerland has enjoyed a tremendous amount of growth from 3,000 case production to 60,000 case production. Zarif’s most recent accomplishment has been planting and producing Summerland’s first Estate wine in a very dense vineyard known as Theresa-Noelle in 2007.