About Us

Our Story

Doug and Katsuko Sparks started their winemaking journey as home winemakers in their garage in San Francisco’s Inner Sunset District. In 1997, having completed winemaking courses at UC Davis, Doug and Katsuko took their winemaking hobby commercial and made their first vintage of Sunset Cellars at a shared facility inside Rosenblum Winery in Alameda.

Over the years they built long-lasting relationships with some top growers such as the Teldeschi family in Dry Creek Valley and Wirth Ranch in Solano County Green Valley. Many of these are old vine Zinfandel vineyards, with many vines over 90 years old. Working with such precious fruit, Doug and Katsuko’s goal has been to create supple red wines that emphasize the grapes’ natural fruit flavors. They like to call their red wine approach “Zen Zin,” a minimalist winemaking style that allows the wines to express the flavors and characteristics created in the vineyards.

Sunset Barbera

In 1998, through a serendipitous encounter, Sunset Cellars began making Barbera from Twin Creeks Vineyard in Napa Valley. The result was so satisfying that Barbera has become one of Sunset’s flagship wines. It has won numerous accolades including Best Barbera of Show from the San Francisco International Wine Competition, twice, beating out Barberas from the grape’s native homeland of northern Italy; and Best Barbera of California at the California State Fair.

Suisun Valley and Green Valley

In 2007, Doug and Katsuko moved their production facility to Suisun Valley and founded Suisun Valley Wine Cooperative as a shared tasting room for small wineries. They have long worked with the fruit and the people of Suisun Valley; moving here was a natural next step.

Starting in 2012, Sunset Cellars took control of two small vineyards in upper Green Valley, growing Cabernet Sauvignon and Barbera, with cuttings from the Twin Creeks Vineyard. Under the expert care of vineyard manager Gabino Rodriguez, and the influence of volcanic soil and excellent growing conditions, these vineyards have produced high quality fruit, and the resulting wines are as beautiful, complex, and lush, as the land and the people who created them.

Winemaking Philosophy

"Zen Zin" reflects Sunset Cellars' minimalist winemaking style and respect for our grower's efforts in the vineyards. Our winemaking objective is to express and refine the flavors and characteristics created in the vineyard. All grapes are hand-sorted before crushing. Wines are fermented in half-ton containers and punched down by hand. Racking, done when necessary, is as gentle as possible, and aging features the restrained use of new oak, to enhance the grapes' flavors and not overpower them.

Our goal is to develop supple wines with ample fruit that celebrate the distinguishing characteristics produced in different regions and vineyards.

We are committed to offering wines of quality and value. To this end, we have focused our efforts on discovering and maintaining grape sources which can support this premise. Sunset Cellars emphasizes red wine varieties including Barbera, Petite Sirah, Syrah and Zinfandel, but we also make the occasional white.

See the list of our award-winning wines

Our Wines