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Sunstone Vineyards Winery

The Rice Family at Sunstone Vineyards. 

Sunstone Vineyards & Winery will celebrate the 25th anniversary of its first vintage and tasting room opening with a public “Wine & Swine” themed reception at the Sunstone Estate on Saturday, Aug. 17, from 4-6 p.m. 

The anniversary reception will feature a pig roast, live '90s music, a ceremony honoring well-known Sunstone “alumni” winemakers and a free raffle with 25 prizes. Tickets can be booked online and are available to the general public for $30 each, with Club Sunstone members receiving a discounted rate of $20 per ticket.

Second generation owner and winemaker Bion Rice, who has worked at his family’s winery since its inception, says that when his family planted the vineyard in 1990, they knew that good wine started with caring for the land.

"I’m so proud that we have been able continue building upon my parents’ original vision of organic grape growing and crafting world-class wines here in the Santa Ynez Valley for such a long time,” Rice said.

Sunstone’s 21-acre organic vineyard, planted to Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Viognier, is believed to be the oldest, continuously organically grown vineyard in Santa Barbara County, according to Rice.

He said they anticipate re-planting parts of the vineyard over the next 3-5 years and possibly adding new varietals such as Grenache and Petit Verdot, possibly surpassing their current production level of 9,000 cases annually. 

To further commemorate the occasion, the family-run winery of Bordeaux and Rhône style wines has released a 25th Anniversary Cuvée to the public, along with an opportunity to experience a Sunstone Villa firsthand with a tour and tasting on four different dates in August and September.

The Villa is the private residence of the Rice family and is generally closed to the public.

The Villa Tour & Tasting Experience is available at 1 p.m. on Aug. 10th & 24th and Sept. 14th and 21st for $80 per person ($55 for Club Sunstone members).

Each session is limited to just 16 seats and features a guided tour of The Villa followed by a seated tasting of exclusive Sunstone Estate wines.

To book a tour reservation or for more information about Sunstone Winery and its upcoming events visit, www.sunstonewinery.com.

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Lisa André covers Valley Life for Santa Ynez Valley News. 

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