Sunstone Winery is now growing grapes and producing wines under the vigilant eyes and with the gentle hands of award-winning winemaker, Nicholas “Nick” de Luca.
Nick is a versatile winemaker who has gained extensive experience working with a number of notable wineries and vineyards in California and New Zealand. Having study International Law at the Université de Poitiers in France and later graduating from the University of California at Santa Cruz, he fished around in New York City for a little over a year, working as a bicycle messenger and ambivalently drifting towards further education in law. A mid-April snow storm that dumped a record amount of snow upon Manhattan convinced him to move back to California, where he serendipitously took a job at Cline Cellars in Sonoma as a forklift driver.
Being multilingual and the only native English speaker on the team aside from the winemakers, de Luca instantly took on the job of translating between the production crew and the technical staff. This offered him the unique opportunity to learn in a practical environment from true professionals. de Luca has worked harvests for several wineries among them Byington Vineyard & Winery in in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Williams Selyem Winery in Healdsburg, CA, Fisher Vineyards in Santa Rosa, CA, Highfield Estate in Marlborough, New Zealand, and Cline Cellars in Sonoma, CA. Most recently, de Luca spent seven vintages as Director of Vineyards and Winemaking at Dierberg & Star Lane Vineyards in Santa Ynez.
“I aim to make wines that force you to reconsider your preconceptions about fine wine,” he says. “For me that means crafting a wine that is inventive, distinctive, and true to its terroir. The real trick is to never believe in your own voodoo so much that you can’t change your mind.” Nick is known for his attention to detail in the cellar as well as in the vineyard. He is not only a winemaker but also a viticulturist, and therefore spends considerable time working with his vineyard managers to produce fruit at a level of quality necessary for world class wines. We are excited to have him on our team, and welcome his dedication to organic grape growing and environmental sustainability.