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Sunstone Vineyards & Winery
Experience the fun and romance of wine country. Located in the heart of Santa Barbara's wine country 30 minutes north of Santa Barbara, Sunstone Vineyards and Winery is open for tasting daily from 10-4:00. Perched on terraces overlooking the Santa Ynez river and mountain range, our tasting room offers a picturesque experience. Sunstone's tasting room is reminiscent of some of the small wineries in the Provencal French countryside, featuring a kitchen complete with a wood-burning oven and two stone barrel-aging caves built into the hillside.
The Rice Family farms their 56-acre vineyards in an organic, bio-sustainable manner, meeting all California Certified Organic Farmer standards. Join us as we taste wines produced from our estate vineyards in a fun and informative environment. Whether your a new wine connoisseur or an aspiring Sommelier, our staff is happy to share our wines and answer your questions as you taste the distinct character of our terroir.
When Fred and Linda Rice and their three children moved in 1989 from Santa Barbara to a peaceful 55-acre Santa Ynez ranch to grow wine grapes, little did they know that they would end up happily presiding over one of the largest organic vineyard estates in Santa Barbara County. Today, Sunstone Vineyards and Winery devotes its entire 55 acre estate to organic grape growing. The Rices' sun-dappled acreage, planted to Rhone and Bordeaux varietals, meets all California Certified Organic Farmer (C.C.O.F.) standards.
The Rice family, along with consulting winemaker Daniel Gehrs, have become adept at growing organic fruit and producing high-quality estate wines. Before coming to Sunstone, Gehrs created a Syrah for Zaca Mesa Winery that was heralded by Wine Spectator as one of the top ten wines in the world.
Fred and Linda, along with son Bion, who is now President of the winery, and daughters Ashley and Brittany, originally chose the terraced site overlooking the Santa Ynez River for its ideal south-sloping exposure, its sandy, rocky soil, and a microclimate that features early morning fog, warm, breezy afternoons, and cool evenings. It proved to be a fortuitous choice, as they soon discovered that it was a perfect spot for the growing of top-notch organic grapes and enjoying a country lifestyle.
"Our goal was to create a place where wine and food could be enjoyed in a picturesque atmosphere," says Linda Rice. "Camaraderie and a sense of sharing is so much a part of this lifestyle. All of our interests, from environmental preservation and organic growing, to the celebration of food, family, and friends have come together here at Sunstone. We have found our home."
The site of the winery was originally a horse barn, which was seriously damaged when an oak tree fell on it after heavy rains and winds. Thanks to that storm, Sunstone now has one of the most attractive wineries and tasting rooms in the Santa Ynez Valley. Aromas of French lavender and rosemary greet visitors as they approach the winery's inviting courtyard and tasting room.
The architecture recalls wineries in the Provencal countryside, and the relaxed ambiance in the tasting room includes a kitchen complete with wood-burning oven. Over 5,000 square feet of stone barrel-aging caves are built into the hillside. Winemaker dinners and other special events are held in the tasting room, caves, and courtyard year-round.
Take the 101 freeway to the city of Buellton. Turn east on highway 246. Go through city of Solvang and drive until you reach Refugio Road. Turn right and drive until you reach the signs for the vineyard.