This year’s Sunstone Merlot may contain a hint of a burnt oak taste due to a minor fire.
At about 9:17 a.m. on Sunday, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department was dispatched to the Sunstone Winery located in the Santa Ynez Valley at 125 North Refugio Rd.
Two fire engines from Solvang responded to the call to find a smoldering fire that was initiated in a wooden box filled with firewood. The box was located underneath what appeared to be a stove or oven in the main wine tasting room.
Santa Barbara County Fire Dept. Public Information Officer Richard Abrams said it is still not clear exactly what caused the fire, however investigators have hypothesized that a combination of something hot falling into the wooden box and the close vicinity of the firewood to the oven caused the fire to ignite.
“The stove or oven sits on a bed of hot coals, so it’s likely that something fell into the box. And because there was a large amount of wood that was stacked in the box that was so close to the oven, the fire just ignited,” Abrams said. “This does not look like a deliberate act; it just happened.”
Abrams said that firefighters quickly controlled the fire and contained it to the area within the wooden box. The main wine tasting room did not suffer any fire damage, however there is minor smoke damage near the area where the fire occurred.
“The winery was scheduled to open later this morning, and as far as I know, this is not going to affect business and they will still open this afternoon,” he said.
The Sunstone Winery could not be reached for comment on Sunday afternoon.