An Interview with Katie Bundschu of Gundlach Bundschu

Describe your family’s Sonoma Valley roots.
Well, it’s very much in our blood. We’re the oldest family-owned winery in the state of California. My great, great grandfather’s grandfather came from a multi-generation winegrowing family in Germany. So, actually, our roots in wine go way back. But he was a true pioneer in Sonoma Valley wine. He knew right away this would be a great location for making fine wine. That was in 1858. And it’s been passed down from generation to generation. With my brother Jeff’s two daughters there are seven generations now.

What do you appreciate most about Sonoma Valley as a wine region?
Quality and family. That’s what we appreciate most about Sonoma Valley. There really are a lot of multi-generation families here. The people who grow up here, they really want to be in the family business. And we support each other. Which is important, because family-owned businesses are becoming so rare these days. When someone asks, “Who owns you?” we say, “No one.” Or, “We do.” And they’re really taken aback by that. But it makes a big difference.
As far as quality, the wines are truly expressive and representative of our site and Sonoma Valley. Very authentic. This is a cooler site and we embrace that. It’s what makes our wines, like our flagship Cab, more structured, a little higher acidity so it’s food-friendly and ages really well.

What do you wish more people knew about Sonoma Valley?
This is a real community. Sonoma is a real town. When you visit, you feel comfortable, like you fit in here. You can really get to know the people and their families personally. I also wish more people realized the incredible quality of the wines we produce. Some people know about the community and events. But I think people will appreciate getting to know that truly great wines are being grown in Sonoma Valley. Last but not least, we’re proud of who we are. We’re family farmers. We embrace that.

Is there a personal story or anecdote that sums up, for you, the Sonoma Valley experience?
For me, there’s this moment. It’s Saturday afternoon, sitting in our courtyard patio outside our tasting room, overlooking the valley and our pond, and just enjoying the local cuisine we have in the valley. We have cheese that’s locally made. Charcuterie that comes from Sonoma. Just enjoying all that with a wonderful glass of wine. Taking in the weather and everything. Okay, it’s not an anecdote, but it doesn’t get any better than that.