As audiences have witnessed on Season 9 of Vanderpump Rules, not much has changed in that most of the cast are still acting like melodramatic children. However, it did appear that one person was ready to take an adult step in their life this season. In Episode 2, James Kennedy talks with Tom Sandoval about his plans to propose to his girlfriend of more than five years, Raquel Leviss, during the group's trip to Palm Springs.
During a lavish Coachella-themed event complete with fireworks, the 29-year-old reality television star got down on one knee and popped the question. Fans watched as Raquel tearfully accepted, and their fellow cast members were overjoyed when they learned of the surprise proposal.
Not long after the engagement, Raquel tells James that she wants to celebrate with a party of all their family and friends — and instead of having the party in L.A., she wants to take it out into the rolling hills of California wine country.
In the Jan. 11 episode, the entire crew traveled nearly three hours to Santa Barbara County for a weekend at a winery to celebrate the newly engaged couple. Since the episode aired, fans have been wondering all about the breathtaking winery and the castle-like villa on the property. With the Season 9 finale taking place mostly at the vineyard, we've rounded up everything you need to do about this jaw-dropping location.
Where is the Sunstone Vineyard, Winery, and Villa seen on 'Vanderpump Rules'?
For James and Raquel's engagement party weekend, the Pump Rules cast traveled to Sunstone Winery in Santa Ynez, located about 40 minutes northwest of Santa Barbara. Founded in 1990, the winery sits on a 55-acre estate. It's an organic vineyard retreat that features a stone barrel-aging cave and a lavender-and-rosemary-filled courtyard where guests can sip on their wine.
For a more quiet or romantic moment, visitors can enjoy lunch at a picnic table near oak and olive trees while taking in all of the breathtaking views. During the summer, the winery stays open later and offers patrons live music and a food truck. Guests can also stay in the Sunstone Villa or rent the entire thing for themselves, as the VPR crew appears to have done. (However, only Club Sunstone Reserve Members are allowed to stay in or rent out the villa.)
The Tuscan-inspired villa was built from limestone imported from a tiny village in France and boasts 8,500 square feet of luxury living. The villa has five master suites, each with its own private bath. The rooms are outfitted with European antiques, a fireplace, fine Italian bedding, and of course, Sunstone Wines. Interestingly, the roof tiles and wood beams on the villa were retrieved from a 19th-century lavender factory that was once owned by Queen Victoria.
Throughout the stunning structure are eight real wood-burning fireplaces, a billiards room, and several patios and terraces with 360-degree views of the Santa Ynez Valley. The villa sleeps up to ten guests, and members can rent it for intimate family and friend getaways, as well as weddings. Lodgers can even request a private chef and personal concierge.
Of course, staying at the villa will cost you a pretty penny. (Wedding packages start at $50,000.) That said, for anyone wanting to visit the vineyards without going into massive debt, you can pay a visit to the tasting room, which runs at a very reasonable $20 per person for a tasting flight of six wines. Private tastings are also available beginning at $35 per person.
While we know that James and Raquel never made it past an engagement, it's still sure to be a party to watch! Catch the Season 9 finale of Vanderpump Rules on Jan.18 at 9 p.m. EST on Bravo.