The Santa Ynez Valley is a short drive north over the mountain pass from my home town of Santa Barbara, and is perhaps most known as one of California's premier wine regions. Over the past decade, it has also been attracting travelers and locals alike with its growing culinary scene. And when you combine great food, excellent wine, and the most picturesque sprawling vineyards set against the golden hills of the Santa Ynez mountains, you have the perfect formula for destination weddings, celebrations, getaways, retreats, and (for someone like me): day trips.
As my business continues to grow to include a line of table linens that can be rented for events and celebrations, I was thrilled to supply a set of linen napkins for a dinner party that brought together some of the best event and hospitality professionals from Santa Barbara and the greater Los Angeles area. It was held on the day of Summer Solstice at Sunstone Villa, located on the same property as the Sunstone Winery and Vineyards. I worked with Percy Sales Events to choose the style that would complement the striking elegance of the classic Italian style villa and the worn, reclaimed wood style dinner tables and stoneware plates sourced from The Tent Merchant. We chose our best-selling signature FOLD napkins in charcoal grey linen with light grey sashiko stitch detail. Now part of the rental inventory, and brand new ones are in the web shop as well.
The best part about being part of this event: I was also invited as a guest to enjoy the food and cocktails prepared on-site by Chef Luca Cresta of Santa Ynez Kitchen, wonder around the Villa, and meet some inspiring event planners, designers, and other creative professionals from Santa Barbara and LA. Here are some of the pictures from the evening.
The Villa is new in the sense of the time it was constructed (2004), but as I learned, its building materials, doors, windows, and other fixtures have been imported from France and are as old as some of the old world structures. As Annamarie Kostura, the Villa's sales manager told us at dinner, the owners brought 40 shipping containers of supplies from France that were discarded after the World War II as a result of the mandate to either "fix or tear down" old, dilapidating buildings.
In addition to several guest rooms and suites, the Villa has many shared spaces for guests to enjoy such as the office (detail above and below), a spacious kitchen, living and dining rooms, lounge areas, patios and courtyards. There are also multiple "nooks and crannies" that are the size of entire rooms in my house.
Images above: Office Detail. If an antique cash register isn't your thing, there is also a functional "modern" printer (not pictured).
The color palette of the interior is reserved and calming, the color of limestone permeating throughout the residence. The monochromatic effect creates a sense of calm and peace that only the buildings with history, an "old soul" can do. A mix of modern and rustic furniture provides a nice dynamic juxtaposition.
The outdoor areas have both cosy courtyard spaces and big patches of grass big enough to accommodate outdoor parties of up to 80 guests. And the views of the mountains and the vineyards are simply breathtaking.
But it is probably enough about the Villa itself, although I could keep going. It was a dinner party after all, so some food photos are very much in order. Chef Luca Cresta and his team prepared the most delicious array of fresh, honest, seasonal Italian food I have tasted in a long time. The salad course included a green salad with three kinds of green peas, a classic panzanella, and a warm grilled octopus salads. Fresh pasta course with shaved truffles followed, and the main course was grilled salmon and roasted vegetables. Since I was too busy eating, I will use some of Jenny Quicksall's photos below. (Thank you, Jenny!)
At the end of dinner, everyone rode this bus to Santa Ynez Inn to continue the festivities. The bus is provided by Jump on the School Bus, and there is a cooler full of wine on board (that's what I heard). I drove myself home (because Wednesday). All in all, it was a wonderful evening of networking, enjoying good food and company, and I am really pleased to have met new friends in the event and hospitality industry. Thank you for the gracious hosts: