Reserve Club Newsletter- Summer 2021


If you walk through our vineyards today, you’ll see clusters of small, green grapes hanging from the vines.  We are in the “fruit set” phase of our winegrapes’ annual journey of growth.  Summer is perhaps the most exciting part of the grapes’ lifecycle because it provides the most tangible evidence of growth to the untrained eye: veraison.  Veraison is the period of pigment development right before Harvest when the red wine grapes begin turning purple. While we’re still a few weeks out from veraison and a month and a half from starting Harvest, the signs of change and growth in the vines are evident.

In addition to the growth of the vines, Sunstone is also experiencing other kinds of growth:

  • Our wine club membership has continued to grow and has now surpassed its pre-pandemic all-time high number of members.
  • After harvesting a record 249 tons of grapes in 2020, we will be growing that number even higher in 2021.
  • If you’ve been to the Estate recently, you know that we have substantially grown our guest seating capacity by about 50% in the past year, including being fully re-opened indoors.
  • Even our hours have “grown”!  We are now open until 8pm every Friday this Summer for Sunsets at Sunstone.
  • We are also growing our physical footprint with plans to open an additional location in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone next Spring.  This first-of-its-kind venue will include an exclusive members’ rooftop lounge overlooking the city, the beach and the mountains.

In more great news, we are happy to announce the return of our annual STOMP member event after having to cancel it for the first time ever in 2020. We’ll be sending out more details soon, but in the meantime Mark Your Calendars for Saturday, September 25th.  Tickets will go on sale Monday, August 16th.

On to the details of your next wine shipment!  In addition to the return of the popular Villa Soleil and Estate Cabernet Franc, we are introducing a unique new blend called “Teddy’s”.  This Reserve wine combines Carignan, Syrah and Grenache.  The initial reviews internally by our staff give it phenomenal marks!  Read below for more details on all of the wines in your upcoming release.

Thank you for your continued support.  We look forward to seeing you at the Estate soon.  Cheers!


2020 ChaRdonnay Reserve (MIXED CLUBS ONLY)

Retail: $45

GRAPE BLEND & SOURCE100% Chardonnay
Spear Vineyard
Acidity: 5.8 g/L
Alcohol: 13.9%
9 months in 30% new/70% neutral French oak
TASTING NOTESRich aromas of lemon meringue, cloves, and toasted oak dominate the nose while orange blossom and tropical notes play in the background. On the palate, well-balanced acidity meets citrus and pear notes and mineral character, culminating in a smooth finish.
WINEMAKINGThe 2020 Chardonnay Reserve comes from the Mt. Eden and Wente (Block 7) clones planted in the esteemed Spear Vineyard in Sta. Rita Hills, known for its sandy shale, sandy loam soils which pass on the minerality from soil. The grapes were hand-harvested the first week of September 2020. They were then whole-cluster pressed separately and the juice was transferred to a chilled tank for two days to settle, then racked to a stainless-steel tank for a 10-day fermentation using a French Burgundy-style yeast then the wine was racked off lees with 30% new French oak barrels including neutral and stainless to barrel age. Our two clones of Chardonnay were blended after four months and bottled after 9 months of aging. 110 cases produced.
FOOD PAIRINGGinger Glazed Salmon with fennel, nectarines, peaches, garlic black beans, cilantro lime mint jasmine rice bowl.
CELLARINGThe 2020 Chardonnay Reserve can be enjoyed now and for up to an additional 3 years if stored in proper conditions.


2019 TEddy’s

Retail: $65

GRAPE BLEND & SOURCE47% Carignan, 30% Syrah, 23% Grenache
Santa Ynez Vineyard in Happy Canyon; Rancho Sisquoc Vineyard; Spear Vineyard
Acidity: 7.6 g/L
Alcohol: 14.9%
20 months in 30% new/70% neutral French oak
TASTING NOTESDistinctive nose of lavender and hibiscus with a tart edge of rhubarb, red currant, and anise notes. Abundant red fruit on the palate, including raspberry leather, English Morello cherries, and red berries, with fresh acidity, subtle earthiness, and a lingering finish.
WINEMAKINGNamed for one of our owners, Teddy Cabugos, the 2019 Teddy’s was hand-harvested from three coveted vineyards in Santa Barbara County, covering three different AVA regions. The grapes were crushed separately and were fermented using Rhone-style yeasts which enhance the cherry, raspberry leather, anise, and rhubarb notes. These varietals were blended and barrel-aged in French m+ 30% new oak barrels for 20 months. 535 cases produced.
FOOD PAIRINGHawaiian barbeque, mesquite slow cooked pork shoulder topped with diced mango, pineapple, ginger reduction glaze served with potato salad and coleslaw.
CELLARINGThe 2019 Teddy’s can be enjoyed now and for an additional 3-5 years if stored in proper conditions.


2019 Villa SOleil

Retail: $65

GRAPE BLEND & SOURCE34% Merlot; 33% Cabernet Franc; 33% Syrah
Sunstone Estate Vineyard
Acidity: 4.8 g/L
Alcohol: 14.2%
19 months in 20% new French oak and 80% neutral American and French oak
TASTING NOTESOpulent nose of cherries, plums, black licorice, and brown sugar, complemented by vibrant cedar and spice notes. Smooth on the palate with dusty tannins and notes of fresh brewed coffee, red berries, and black cherries, leading to a mouth-watering, lingering finish.
WINEMAKINGThe Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah grapes for our Villa Soleil are hand-harvested each year from vines centered in front the Sunstone Villa. The grapes were hand-harvested, weighed separately and crushed together into fermentation bins for a 10-day fermentation using Bordeaux-style yeasts to help enhance its natural aroma and character complexities of licorice, spice and dark berries. Additionally, the cherry and red currant notes and smooth textures stem from the slow fermentation and the 33% of Syrah that was added to the co-fermentation. We barrel aged this wine in a combination of 20% French Oak, Neutral American and French oak barrels for 19 months prior to bottling. 169 cases produced.
FOOD PAIRINGPan Seared Filet Mignon w/ sage-thyme orange zested butter served with garlic creamed spinach and oven roasted potatoes.
CELLARINGThe 2019 Villa Soleil can be enjoyed now and for an additional 5-8 years if stored in proper conditions.


2019 Cabernet Franc, Estate

Retail: $65

GRAPE BLEND & SOURCE100% Cabernet Franc
Sunstone Estate Vineyard
Acidity: 4.3 g/L
Alcohol: 13%
20 months in 25% new/75% neutral French oak
TASTING NOTESBeautiful nose of lavender, dark cherries, and stewed blackberries with spice notes aplenty, including anise, nutmeg and crushed black pepper. Chocolate and coffee notes meet fig and oak toast on the palate, giving way to polished tannins and a long, smooth finish.
WINEMAKINGOur 2019 Estate Cabernet Franc was hand-picked from the Sunstone Estate Vineyard Block H, in mid-October 2019, and was fermented for 14 days prior to pressing the grapes to tank to settle the lees. The wine was then racked to wine barrels to age for 20 months in 25% new oak barrels. Our yeasts, vineyard terroir, and oak tannins have the largest part in the character of the wine from grape to bottle. We chose this harvest to use a Rhone-style Yeast to pull out the dynamics of the ripe blackberry, black pepper, anise, currants, cloves but to add a slight cherry, almond, fig, and lavender character to round out a softer finish for this earthy, rich dark fruit and spicy wine varietal.
FOOD PAIRINGHomemade Black Truffle Pizza with Arugula, Garlic Olive Oil and Freshly Grated Parmesan.
CELLARINGThe 2019 Cabernet Franc, Estate can be enjoyed now and for the next 4-8 years if stored in optimal conditions.