Reserve Club Newsletter- Fall 2020


Like the classic Andy Williams song says, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!”  While Andy was talking about Christmas, we think that way about Harvest, which is going on right now.  Despite all of the challenges our world has faced in 2020, this year’s grape harvest is shaping up to be one of our best.  Our winemakers and cellar team are bringing in a record 200+ tons of premium quality fruit not only from our own Estate vineyard but many other esteemed vineyards throughout Santa Barbara County.  You can look forward to enjoying the whites and rosés from this harvest early next year and the reds in 2022.

Many of you have asked whether our harvest has been affected by any of the recent wildfires across the state. We are happy to report that all of our grapes are in great shape and we have not experienced any adverse effects at all.  Many of our colleagues in other wine regions have not been as fortunate, and we are wishing them the best during this difficult time.

Looking ahead, there is new light at the end of the tunnel in terms of the current Health Department restrictions around COVID-19.  Santa Barbara County recently entered the “Red” phase of California’s Re-Opening Guidelines and may possibly enter the less restrictive “Orange” phase by the end of this month. When we enter this phase, we will be able to open indoors again.  For those of you that have been able to join us for an outdoor experience over the past few months, it has been great to see you.  For those that cannot join us in person at this time, we hope your quarterly wine club shipments will keep you connected to us from afar until you are able to join us here again. Thank you for your continued patience and support.

In addition to the new releases in this shipment (detailed below), we wanted to make you aware of several more exciting benefits available to you now and in the future!

  • New Online Account Management- We recently replaced our account management system to give you much more convenience and flexibility to manage your membership online.  You can now manage all of your reservations, online orders, and club shipments in one place.  And no more trying to remember what your password is- you can login with your Google or Facebook account!
  • Upgraded Wi-Fi-  Last week, construction was completed on a new high speed Fiber internet line into the Estate that has significantly expanded the speed and coverage of our guest Wi-Fi.  With this investment, you will notice a major improvement when you’re using the Wi-Fi to share photos of your Sunstone experience on social media, schedule an Uber, or simply use Sunstone as your remote office!
  • Virtual Tastings on Demand-  “Live” online events are great, but the feedback we’ve received is that you would prefer to view our content on a schedule that is convenient for you.  So, we’ve created a YouTube channel where you can access virtual tastings and other videos on demand anytime. Make sure to Subscribe to our channel so you’re notified each time new videos are posted.
  • New Member Lounge- While the Health Department’s prohibition on indoor service has delayed the opening of our new member tasting lounge, it is still in the works. The project is about 80% complete and we look forward to telling you more about it in the very near future!
  • 2021 Events- We are looking forward to the likely resumption of events again next year, pending Health Department approval.  We have begun planning for Eros in February, STOMP in the Fall, and many other great experiences that we will share with you once restrictions are lifted.

Thank you again for your continued support.  Read below for more details on all of the wines in your upcoming release. Cheers!



Retail: $45

GRAPE BLEND & SOURCE100% Sauvignon Blanc
Refugio Ranch Vineyard
Acidity: 6.12g/L
Alcohol: 14%
6 months in neutral American oak

TASTING NOTESThis reserve bottling is crisp and refreshing with aromas of white grapefruit, Granny Smith apples, vanilla bean, and fresh cut pears with various floral notes and underlying mineral character. Light bodied with bright acidity on the palate, flavors of lemon chamomile, kiwi berries and green apples lead up to a dry, lingering finish.
WINEMAKINGThe Sauvignon Blanc fruit was hand harvested at sunset the end of September 2019, whole cluster pressed to tank where the wine was fermented and aged in 100% neutral French oak 6-months, then bottled April 3rd, 2020.
We aged this small lot of 73 cases in 3-4-year-old oak for 6 months, which added vanilla and salty toasted almond notes. The sea salty texture is also driven from the partial malic secondary fermentation, which we started and finished to retain the malic acid for the texture balance in the wines and which adds to the grapefruit and refreshing citrus notes on the front middle and finish. Just 73 cases produced.
FOOD PAIRINGTry pairing this Fumé Blanc Reserve with Pan Seared Rockfish with Lemon Beurre.
CELLARINGThe 2019 Fumé Blanc Reserve can be enjoyed now and for the next 12-24 months. It is not a candidate for long term aging.
MAKERSBrittany Rice, Director of Winemaking
Jon Flores, Assistant Winemaker
Jose Gomez, Cellar Master
Guadalupe Chavez, Assistant Cellar Master
Maricela Gomez, Cellar Assistant


2018 MERLOT RESERVE, estate

Retail: $65

Sunstone Estate Vineyard
Acidity: 5.92g/L
Alcohol: 14.4%
22 months in 80% neutral/20% new French oak
TASTING NOTESA complex nose of tobacco leaves, anise, and black licorice with subdued notes of dark fruit, including blackberry fruit leather, figs and plums. Black pepper, boysenberries and currants are layered on the palate with chocolate and coffee notes, grippy tannins and a long finish.
WINEMAKINGThe Merlot was hand harvested from four blocks at Sunstone Vineyard during different dates, at sunrise, by the end of October 2019, fermented for 12 days from crush/must to wine and aged in 20% new French oak, prior to bottling on August 1, 2020. 675 cases produced.
FOOD PAIRINGRabbit alla Cacciatora Barese (cast iron pan braising, with liver, heart and kidneys slow cook with tomatoes, mushroom, carrots, potatoes and wine to make reduction).
CELLARINGThe 2018 Merlot Reserve can be enjoyed now and for the next 6-10 years if stored in optimal conditions.



Retail: $65

GRAPE BLEND & SOURCE100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Sunstone Estate Vineyard
Acidity: 6.28g/L
Alcohol: 14%
10 months in 60% new/40% neutral French oak, then an additional 9 months in 100% neutral French oak (19 months total in oak)
TASTING NOTESOpulent nose of blackberries, plums and cherry cola with pinches of thyme, oregano and coriander. A backbone of structured acidity supports the abundance of berry and red currant notes on the palate while hints of roasted coffee, tobacco and black pepper play in the background.
WINEMAKINGThe Cabernet Sauvignon was hand harvested from our 2 acre block at the Sunstone Vineyard at sunrise, by the end of October 2018. It was then fermented for 10 days from crush/must to wine and aged in 60% new French oak for 10 months then 9 months in neutral oak prior to bottling on May 15, 2020. Just 92 cases produced.
FOOD PAIRINGRoasted Garlic Rosemary Lamb w/ pesto drizzled with Garlic Mashed Potatoes
CELLARINGThe 2018 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon can be enjoyed now and for the next 8-12 years if stored in optimal conditions.


2019 petite sirah reserve

Retail: $65

GRAPE BLEND & SOURCE100% Petite Sirah
La Presa Vineyard
Acidity: 8.12g/L
Alcohol: 15%
9 months in 15% new American oak and 85% neutral French oak
TASTING NOTESInky dark in the glass with aromas of rhubarb, tart cherries and fresh blueberries with undertones of lavender and vanilla. The full bodied palate has well integrated tannins with flavors of boysenberries, plums, cedar, and dark chocolate covered raisins.
WINEMAKINGThe Petite Sirah was hand harvested at sunset at the end of October 2019 and fermented for 12 days from crush/must to wine and aged in 15% new American oak and 85% neutral French oak, prior to bottling on July 30th, 2020. 230 cases produced.
FOOD PAIRINGTandoori Style Pork Loin with Grilled Nectarine and Plums
CELLARINGThe 2019 Petite Sirah can be enjoyed now and for the next 2-4 years if stored in optimal conditions.