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 County is not an AVA, but it is a commonly used informal designation for wines made outside of more specific AVAs within Sonoma, which is a large wine producing region just west of Napa Valley. Though Sonoma is often overshadowed by its glamorous neighbor Napa Valley, it has a long history of wine production. The area specialized in jug wine until the mid-20th century, when Sonoma producers took a cue from Napa and started improving quality. Unlike Napa, where Cabernet Sauvignon is king, Sonoma specialized in Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel, though excellent Cabs are produced too. There are at present 16 AVAs within Sonoma County, and, like much of the West Coast of the United States, new AVAs are created in Sonoma County with regularity. Some Sonoma appellations, such as the Russian River Valley, are renowned for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
One of the most widely grown grape varieties, it can be found in nearly every wine growing region. A cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. It’s a hardy vine that produces a full-bodied wine with high tannins and great aging potential.