Spring wine tasting in Sonoma

July 12, 2013

Summer has inched its way into our lives and very soon, grapes will again be hanging heavy on the vines in beautiful Sonoma.

I blogged about my first visit to wine country in the middle-1980s, but since that time I’ve been there often.

Napa’s been way touristy for years, so my “go to” places are Sonoma, Alexander Valley, Dry Creek–neatly planted rows of vines on rolling hills that bud green in the spring, grow ponderously heavy in summer and are stripped bare at fall harvest. Every season has its pleasures, although summer is HOT and I stay away from the wine country then.

I was once married to a man who loved and collected wine and he was kind enough to introduce me to a fun little winery called Gundlach Bundschu. In April, I brought my husband and friends there for a vineyard tour and tasting.

First, how to pronounce the name? Our tour guide did a little shtick.  See it on video here:

I won’t tell you the history, you can Google it to find out, but Gundlach Bundschu wines are some of the nicest I’ve tasted and it was fun to walk the vineyard a bit with a guide.

gun vines

We were close up and personal with the vineyard. Now, lots of wine country residents plant small vineyards on their properties and sell the grapes to big producers. That sounded like fun, and I hoped secretly that my ex wanted to do that when we were together. Alas, no. But I enjoy spending time with the vines when I visit.

gund pig wineglasses

Our tour included a walking tasting in the vineyard. These glasses awaited us at the start of our walk. We each took one and periodically, our guide would talk about the particular wine and pour for us. (Note to Audrey: yes we will do this tour!) I love the charming presentation above.

gund wine cave

After our vineyard tasting, we had a second one  in the wine cave.

gun tasting

In the dim cave, we sat at a long table and tasted more wine.

gun barrels

All around us, wine was aging in huge barrels. It was hard not to feel a sense of reverence at this time-honored process that would  yield so much enjoyment.

gun wineglassI don’t always buy wine at wineries, but we took the opportunity to buy a Pinot Noir and Merlot that we exclaimed over. It didn’t last long at home and we’ll be re-ordering.

vineydOne of the pleasures of living in the south end of the Bay area is the proximity of the wine country: just about two and a half hours away.

And at least a couple times a year, all roads from our house lead there.

7 comments on “Spring wine tasting in Sonoma
  1. Julie Phelps says:

    Ahhh, you bring back such fond memories. I lived in Sonoma, a few blocks from The Square, for about 3 years until moving from California in late 2011. One of my most favored Cabernet is from Gundlach Bundschu. I am a real fan of full-bodied dry reds. Honig Winery makes another fine one. When I win any lottery I plan to stock up on both, as well as Gundlach Bundschu Pinot.

    • admin says:

      It’s great wine and a cool winery. They’re putting up a wedding site at the property now, too. Probably done now.

  2. Susan Cooper says:

    Sonoma is one of my favorite areas too. I too live in NorCal and find myself in the one of the many wine regions we are surround with. I had no idea you were in the Bay Area. I am in Sacramento. We do need to meet up sometime. :-)))

  3. audreyvp says:

    Carol, tell me when!!! I will start looking for flights now! 🙂

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