Gundlach Bundschu is sometimes called the oldest family-owned winery in California, having been started in 1858 by Jacob Gundlach, a German who wanted to bring the tradition of German winemaking to California. He bought 400 acres in Napa Valley and brought grape vine stock from Germany and France to start his winemaking enterprise. In 1868 Gundlach’s daughter married Charles Bundschu, also a German immigrant, and the name of the estate was eventually changed to reflect the partnership between Gundlach and his son-in-law. Today the Sonoma company is run by sixth-generation family members. Its 320 acres produce Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Merlot and Tempranillo.
Sonoma Coast AVA runs from San Pablo Bay in the south to Mendocino County in the north. It includes 7,000 vineyard acres and earned AVA status in 1987. Its proximity to the Pacific Ocean means it gets double the rainfall of nearby inland appellations and the ocean gives the appellation a relatively cool climate. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir can thrive in these conditions, and there are numerous producers making critically acclaimed Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
This red wine is relatively light and can pair with a wide variety of foods. The grape prefers cooler climates and the wine is most often associated with Burgundy, Champagne and the U.S. west coast. Regional differences make it nearly as fickle as it is flexible.