The Inspiration

Bion Rice’s immersion in winemaking at an early age coupled with a his innovative nature spurred his interest in wine blending. Bion’s appreciation for the arts motivated him to found Artiste Winery in 2002, focusing on “Art Inspired Wines”.


Meet Bion Rice

Owner and Winemaker

Fifth generation winemaker Bion Rice’s great-great-grandfather was a grape grower for reputable wineries in the Napa Valley in the 1890’s. His grandfather told him stories about picking grapes on that vineyard as a boy. When his family planted a 25-acre vineyard in the Santa Ynez Valley in 1990, the legacy continued.

After five years of cellar work and enology training under renowned winemaker Daniel Gehrs, Bion produced his first vintage as Head Winemaker in 1997 at Sunstone Vineyard and Winery in Santa Ynez.

Having studied art and filmmaking in college, Bion wanted to fuse his passion for art and wine in an innovative way. In 1999, he produced the first vintage of Artiste featuring the art of James-Paul Brown on the front label, inspiring Bion to start his own winery.

Artiste’s “Tasting Studio” was opened in 2003, and it quickly became a must-experience destination for wine enthusiasts who also appreciated art. The tasting experience included painting on large easels with canvases, sketching in art journals and wine blending classes.

Artiste became the home of Art Inspired Wines, an approach to blending wine that Bion invented, developed, and perfected. He artfully blends wines in response to the emotional, instinctual, thought-provoking, and sometimes synesthetic experiences derived from artworks, translating a visual medium into the senses: aromas, flavors, and mouth-feel. Every wine is a limited-edition work of art itself and is never replicated.


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