Sunstone Founder’s Club Newsletter – Summer 2024

Founder's Club


Founder’s Club – SUMMER 2024 Release

Summer is in full swing at Sunstone, and our vineyard is basking in the warmth and light of the Santa Ynez sun.  As the season unfolds, the grapes continue to ripen on the vine in preparation for harvest in just a couple months, before ultimately being transformed into another award-winning Sunstone wine.

In the meantime, we invite you to continue celebrating Sunstone’s 30th anniversary with us, highlighted by a full calendar of member events over the next few weeks. From an elegant dinner to our annual summer market, and a one-on-one barrel tasting, there are plenty of reasons to visit. We look forward to raising a glass with you at these exclusive events!

  • July 26th: Wine Pairing Dinner at the Villa Tickets Still Available!
  • August 2nd: Member Pickup Party featuring Danny’s Tacos
  • August 2nd: Release of our 30th Anniversary Cuvee
  • August 2nd to 4th: 30th Anniversary Club Release Weekend
  • August 9th: Virtual Tasting With Our Winemaker
  • August 10th & 11th: Annual Summer Market
  • August 16th: Summer’s Night at Sunstone, Live Music
  • August 17th: Sunstone Villa Open House
  • August 31st & September 1st: Barrel Tasting in the Cave

Your Summer Shipment

On to the details of your next wine shipment!  In continued celebration of our 30th Anniversary, your shipment will feature award-winning library wines as well as a one-time, limited edition 30th Anniversary Cuvee.

All Founder’s Club members will receive the limited release 30th Anniversary Cuvee, which is an exquisite Cabernet Sauvignon made from the grapes of one of the most sought-after vineyards in Happy Canyon. This exclusive wine is not available to the public or to other Sunstone membership tiers.

In addition, all Founder’s members will receive the newly released 2022 Teddy’s Reserve, and two wines that have been highly rated by Wine Enthusiast: the 2021 Villa Reserve (92 points), and the 2021 Syrah Reserve (91 points).  Members that have chosen the Mixed option will also receive the 2021 Chardonnay Reserve, a wine that’s perfect for cooling down in the summer heat.

DON’T FORGET: With our new enhanced membership benefits, you now have the “Bottle Swap” option that lets you customize your shipment while still earning Rewards points that can be redeemed for discounts on future wine purchases.

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


Chardonnay Reserve

Retail: $45.00

Grape Blend and Source 100% Chardonnay
Spear Vineyard
Technical SpecsPH: 3.74
Acidity: 5.0 g/L
Alcohol: 14.4%
Case Production269
Tasting NotesWarm aromas of toasted almonds, salted vanilla ice cream, cloves and Allspice play well with the lemon rind and pineapple notes on the nose. Light-bodied with a round mouthfeel, and bruised apple, cinnamon, lemongrass, honey, and smoke character on the palate.
Winemaking NotesThe grapes for our 2021 Chardonnay Reserve (Eden and Wente clones) were hand-harvested on September 22nd, 2021, from Spear Vineyard in Sta. Rita Hills. Our team whole cluster pressed the juice into a stainless tank to settle for two days before the inoculation for fermentation of both lees and juice. On the 6th day, bacteria culture was added for the secondary fermentation as the fermentation ended on the 10th day. Our winemaker’s yeast of choice was CY3079, which enhances sensory notes of Citrus, Pineapple, Vanilla, Cedarwood, Honey, and Floral characters. After spending nine months in a mix of new and neutral oak, the Chardonnay Reserve was bottled to 269 cases in June 2022.
Food PairingPan-seared salmon with lemon garlic butter sauce.
CellaringThe 2021 Chardonnay Reserve can be enjoyed now and for up to an additional 3 years if stored in proper conditions.
Wine Bottle


Retail: $70.00

Grape Blend and Source42% Syrah, 36% Grenache, 22% Carignan
Nolan Vineyard
Technical SpecsPH: 3.79
Acidity: 5.8 g/L
Alcohol: 14.8%
19 months in 30% new/70% neutral French oak
Tasting NotesAbundant red fruit aromas, including Bing cherries and raspberries, mesh with notes of espresso, cloves, and cedar, and purple floral undertones. On the palate, dark fruit character is front and center with blackberry, boysenberry, and dark cherries combining with dark chocolate and black tea leaves, leading to a lingering, spicy finish.
Winemaking NotesThe Teddy’s blend of Carignan, Syrah and Grenache mimics the blend style of the Languedoc and Roussillon regions of France's Rhone Valley. The Teddy’s Reserve grapes were harvested in mid-October 2022 from Nolan Vineyard in the Alisos Canyon AVA. Our team crushed each varietal together for a 15-day co-fermentation, pressed the wine and barreled down into American and French oak wine barrels to extract the oak tannin from the barrels into the wine during the aging process. Our winemaker’s yeast of choice was a combination of ICV-GRE which enhances sensory notes of tropical, cherry liquors, lavender, melon, fresh plum, dark berry, anise, spice, and floral essence to the characters of each varietal typical character for a more aromatic balance. The wine was sent through malolactic fermentation to reduce the malic acid sharp acidity. This wine shows an amazing velvety soft front attributing its earthy, fruit forward, floral and spice characters as it remains complex from start to finish. The wine aged in 30% New American/French Oak for 19 months before bottling April 2024.
Food PairingBraised Brisket with Plum, Star Anise and Port
CellaringThe 2022 Teddy’s Reserve can be enjoyed now and for up to an additional 6-8 years if stored in proper conditions.
Wine Bottle

30th Anniversary Cuvee

Retail: $80.00

Grape Blend and Source 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Happy Canyon
Technical SpecsPH: 3.81
Acidity: 5.2 g/L
Alcohol: 14.8%
21 months in 80% new/20% neutral French oak
Case Production171
Tasting NotesSophisticated aromas of huckleberry, black cherry, cocoa nib, and espresso complement the elegant notes of blueberry, toasted almond toffee, and rhubarb. Balanced, with well-integrated tannins on the palate, and cherry, blackberry, plum and crushed black pepper character and a long, memorable finish.
Winemaking NotesThe Clone 4 Cabernet Sauvignon for Sunstone’s 2022 30th Anniversary Cuvee was hand-hand harvested from TTT Vineyard in Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara on October 5th, 2022. Our production team crushed, cold-soaked, and then fermented the Cabernet Sauvignon for 16 days before pressing the wine from the grape must (grape skins, seeds) into another tank to settle the lees or sediment before racking to 80% new French oak barrels. The single varietal vineyard designate was aged 21 months before bottling to 171 cases on July 3rd, 2024. Our winemaker’s yeast of choice was BM45. This yeast enhances sensory and tannin notes and illuminate the characteristics of bright mixed dark berries, espresso, stone fruit, spice, cedar, licorice, and fresh floral bouquets. Cabernet Sauvignon Clone 4 is known for being native to Mendoza, Argentina. The 30th Anniversary Cuvee was sent through malolactic fermentation to reduce the sharp acidity of the malic acid. This wine shows many layers from the elevation and terroirs of each vineyard’s soils and minerals. The tannin texture is soft and dry, broadcasting its dark huckleberry, blueberry, cassis, espresso, lavender, and black pepper characteristics.
Food PairingHerb Crusted Rack of Lamb with Savory Blackberry Compote
CellaringThe 2022 30th Anniversary Cuvee can be enjoyed now and for up to an additional 12-15 years if stored in proper conditions.
Wine Bottle

Villa Reserve

Retail: $80.00

Grape Blend and Source44% Merlot, 34% Syrah, 22% Cabernet Franc
Sunstone Estate
Technical SpecsPH: 3.8
Acidity: 5.1 g/L
Alcohol: 14.2%
Aged in 40% new oak (16% French, 24% American) oak for 22 months.
Case Production171
Tasting NotesThis expressive red blend showcases a captivating combination of ripe red fruits like raspberry, black cherry, and boysenberry, accented by a subtle blend of warm spices such as cumin, cloves, and coriander. Notes of dark chocolate, espresso, and marzipan add depth and richness, while hints of toasted almonds and pine nuts bring a delightful nuttiness to the palate. A touch of hickory and pine contribute to a smoky undertone, and candied orange rind provides a touch of sweetness and zest.
Winemaking NotesThe three estate varietals used for our Villa Reserve blend are planted in high-density micro blocks surrounding the Villa at Sunstone. In contrast to how most wines are crafted, we employ a “field blend” approach for this wine. For us this means harvesting all blocks on one day (October 14th, 2021), weigh the varietals individually to determine the overall varietal percentage and crush the lots together to ferment as one. Upon arrival to the winery the fruit was crushing together for cold soaking, inoculated for fermentation, punched down twice daily and finally pressing off the skins once dry. The wine was aged in a combination of new French (16%), new American (24%) and neutral oak for 22 months before being bottled in June 2023. 
Food PairingCedar Plank Smoked Brisket with apricots and plum chutney topped with rosemary sprigs. 
CellaringThe 2021 Villa Reserve will age gracefully for up to an additional 10-15 years if stored in proper conditions.
Wine Bottle

Syrah Reserve

Retail: $45.00

Grape Blend and Source 100% Syrah
Coquelicot, Camp 4, Nolan Ranch, Valley View, Spear Vineyard
Technical SpecsPH: 3.63
Acidity: 5.5 g/L
Alcohol: 14.6%
23 months in 20% new/80% neutral French oak
Case Production828
Tasting NotesThis wine delights the senses with an inviting aroma of black cherry, ripe plum, black licorice, and a touch of cloves, complemented by notes of raspberry leather, cardamom, tobacco, peppercorn, and lavender. On the palate, it reveals a medley of flavors, including Bing cherry, boysenberry, redcurrant, and hints of anise, dark plum, espresso, cloves, and peppercorn, concluding with a refreshing blend of golden figs, rhubarb, and pomegranate.
Winemaking NotesGrapes for the 2021 Syrah Reserve come from five unique vineyard sites spanning three viticultural areas. Each fruit lot was hand-harvested and delivered to the winery to be gently de-stemmed and crushed for cold-soaking. After 3-4 days of cold soak each lot was inoculated for fermentation. Four separate yeast strains were used to ferment the five wine lots. Post alcoholic fermentation the wine was gently pressed off the skins and inoculated for malolactic fermentation. After malolactic fermentation the wine was racked clean and the final blend was assembled in March 2022. The blend was returned to barrel to aged in 20% new French oak for 23 months before being bottled in August 2023.
Food PairingCoffee Spiced Smoked Pork Butt with Rhubarb Cinnamon Red Lentil Curry
CellaringThe 2021 Syrah Reserve can be enjoyed now and for up to an additional 5-7 years if stored in proper conditions.
Wine Bottle

Important Dates

Last Day for Credit Card & Address Changes, and Bottle Swaps

July 22

Credit Cards are Charged

July 23

Club Orders Available for Pickup

August 2

Non-pickup orders Shipped out

August 5