Geoff and Alison Rusack, Vintners
Raised in the Los Angeles area, Geoff returned to Southern California after graduating from Bowdoin College. Following a stint in television production, he earned his J.D. from Pepperdine University and worked for many years as a defense attorney. Alison, a native of Chicago who spent many childhood summers on Catalina Island, moved west for college. After receiving her degree from Stanford University, Alison relocated to Los Angeles where she too worked in television production before joining the consumer products group at the Walt Disney Company.
A blind date, a leap of faith, and a commitment
After meeting on a fortuitous blind date, it was on their second get-together that Geoff and Alison first dreamed of starting a vineyard and winery together. A few years later, that dream took shape when an opportunity arose to purchase a piece of property in picturesque Ballard Canyon. Drawn to the beauty of the land, Geoff and Alison took the leap and moved their young family to a house on the Vineyard property, with a commitment to create world-class wines reflective of the unique character of the region.
A family project from the beginning, the Rusacks enjoyed their first “crush” in the Santa Ynez Valley 1995 (with two purple-toed toddler assistants!) In 2007 they expanded their vineyards on Santa Catalina Island. The following years have brought growth and increasing acclaim, yet Rusack, Santa Catalina Island Vineyards remains true to the principles upon which it was established: hands-on crafting, regional character and a tireless commitment to excellence. Geoff and Alison continue to oversee all aspects of the vineyard, and are extremely proud of the hard work and exceptional results that their team has produced.
Steven Gerbac, Winemaker
Growing up on the Central Coast, Steven traces his fascination with the wine industry back to the eighth grade, where he was fortuitously paired with winemaking pioneer Rick Longoria for a science project on malolactic fermentation . Years later, Steven reinforced his passion for old-world style winecrafting with cellar staff positions at Whitcraft and at Brander Vineyard, both eminent in the local wine industry.
Steven secured his B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara before joining Rusack Vineyards in 2003 as a production Assistant, moving on to Cellar Master, and working his way up to Assistant Winemaker. While completing his Winemaking Certificate at the University of California, Davis, Steven was appointed Winemaker at Rusack.. As Winemaker for both Rusack Vineyards in Ballard Canyon and Santa Catalina Island, Steven’s outstanding results speak for themselves and are testament to his talent, drive and commitment.