Matt Smith is a Michigan native, born in Detroit and raised in Grosse Pointe Park. He attended the University of Michigan (BA 1990) where he received his degree in Political Science and French Language. During his time at U of M, Matt spent his junior year at the Sorbonne in Paris. Following graduation, he traveled extensively around the world visiting 28 countries from New Zealand and Australia to Southeast Asia, the Soviet Union, Eastern and Western Europe. After living in France and Spain for two years, he returned to America and eventually found his way to Northern California, where he enrolled in the Masters of Viticulture & Enology program at the University of California at Davis.
Matt’s career includes stints at David Bruce Winery, Robert Mondavi Winery and international experience working at Maison Joseph Drouhin, one of Burgundy’s top wine companies, and in Australia for Mitchelton Wines. Smith then joined Kendall-Jackson’s winemaking team in 2004 becoming Winemaking Director for all North Coast wines in 2011.
Matt is now focusing his attention on several projects including consulting. He is exceptionally proud to be named as the consulting winemaker at Sunstone. Matt is excited to bring his talents to the wine process and considers Sunstone to be a perfect fit on many levels. He is particularly drawn to the Mediterranean lifestyle and believes that the best moments in life are spent sharing great wine and great food with family and friends.
Director of Sales & Marketing- Level 1 Sommelier
An MBA and digital marketing expert by trade, Dave spent the first half of his career helping Fortune 500 companies build their businesses online before deciding he wanted to dedicate the rest of his career to his true passion: wine.
Dave’s unique perspective on the wine industry and the in-person winery customer experience is rooted in being a longtime wine connoisseur and collector, and a visitor to more than 200 wineries across the world. After founding a winery marketing and customer experience company, Dave joined Terravant Wine Company, Santa Barbara County’s largest winery, to build the DTC business. At Terravant, Dave brought to market a new brand (Bottlest), a first-of-its-kind online wine personalization app, and an award-winning winery tour experience.
In 2018 Dave achieved three significant wine industry milestones: Becoming a featured speaker at the DTC Wine Symposium; Winning a “Vinnie” Award for Excellence in Wine Marketing; and Passing the Court of Master Sommeliers Level 1 Certification Exam.
As Director of DTC Sales, Dave is responsible for leading our Club Sunstone program, DTC Sales and our guest experience team.
Jon stumbled upon the wine industry by chance in 2014 as a tasting room associate. He then spent time familiarizing himself with the various growing regions in the area by interning for a vineyard management company and a harvest intern for Bien Nacido Winery in Santa Maria. As our Assistant Winemaker Jon oversees day-to-day operation of our 8,000 square foot production facility including all in-house lab work, estate and partner vineyard relations and wine-making practices. He has studied Viticulture and Enology at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria as well as winemaking through the University of California, Davis Extension Program. His passion for creating award-winning wine is evident by his work ethic and eagerness to never stop in the pursuit in learning about wine. During harvest he can be found roaming various partner vineyards before the crack of dawn or in the cellar working with the rest of the production staff.
Tasting Room Lead- Level 1 Sommelier
Jessica joined the Sunstone family in May 2014. Originally from Santa Barbara, Jessica studied psychology while attending Santa Barbara Community College before deciding to move to the Santa Ynez Valley where she fell in love with wine. Having over ten year’s experience in the hospitality industry, Jessica’s passion for guest service and love for Sunstone is apparent when she greets you like family in our tasting rooms- with a glass of bubbles, of course! She is currently studying to gain her sommelier certification and plans to travel the world and taste new wines!
Tasting Room Sales Associate
Thom hails from Philadelphia, and has taken a rather circuitous path to Santa Ynez. His lifelong love of music somehow led to a twenty year career in law – a veritable roller coaster ride with stops in such exotic locales as Nairobi, Munich, Rome and . . . Minneapolis? Better late than never, he found his amazing wife Lisa and the similarly awesome Central Coast . . . as well as a home and family shared with some of the best people on earth, at a magical place called Sunstone. The camaraderie and extraordinary experiences created there each day are remarkable and rare indeed!
Joining the Sunstone family in March 2016 as a Tasting Room associate, Elva brings over six years of experience in the hospitality and wine industry. Born and raised right here in the Santa Ynez Valley, Elva is pursuing her degree in Wine and Viticulture at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, CA and has a great passion for learning everything she can about wine. When she is not at the winery, she enjoys spending time with her family and re-watching Harry Potter!