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.
The Merlot grape is such a deep blue that it is named for the blackbird. It’s an early ripening grape and one of the primary varietals used In Bordeaux. Merlot is also grown in the "International style," which is harvested later to bring out more tannins and body.