Kunde Merlot 2015
For over a century, five generations of the Kunde Family have farmed our 1,850 acre estate in the Sonoma Valley – a truly remarkable legacy in the modern age of California winemaking. A fervent, forward thinking vision of land stewardship and sustainability began over 100 years ago and has been shaped with each successive generation.
Our founder, Louis Kunde, who emigrated from Germany, acquired the Wildwood Vineyards ranch with its acclaimed iron-rich, ancient red volcanic soils in 1904. The vineyards on this land were first planted in 1879 by pioneer John Drummond with imported cuttings from Chateaux Margaux and Lafite Rothschild. Upon Louis’ death in 1922, the winery and vineyards were taken over by his son, Arthur “Big Boy” Kunde. Big Boy kept the winery open during the difficult times of Prohibition, but was forced to finally close the winery doors when his sons were drafted into service in World War II. Throughout the 1960’s and ‘70’s, two of Big Boy’s sons, Bob and Fred, greatly expanded the Kunde Estate, adding the esteemed Kinneybrook Ranch in 1997, which is where the winery now stands.
Today, Kunde Family Winery is still family owned and operated with a hands-on team of 4th and 5th generation family members at the helm. Every decision we make, every wine we craft, and every experience we provide honors the legacy of Great Grandfather, Louis Kunde. We remain committed to innovation in our vineyards and winery while maintaining a deep, personal commitment to sustainable winegrowing and preserving the land for generations to come.
Our winemaking mission is to craft elegant wines with a real sense of place – beautifully balanced and expressive of our dramatic vineyard landscape. Winemaker Zach Long, who came to Kunde in 2011, brought with him a wealth of international and domestic winemaking experience, having worked in some of the world’s most acclaimed wine regions including Bordeaux, New Zealand, and the Napa Valley. “Kunde Family Winery is one of the most unique properties in the Sonoma Valley. My goal is to not only produce the absolute best terroir-driven wines possible, but to also uphold the legacy of the Kunde family by letting the vineyards speak through each bottle of wine I craft,” says Long.
Perhaps the most historically significant appellation in Sonoma County, the Sonoma Valley is home to both Buena Vista winery, California's oldest commercial winery, and Gundlach Bundschu winery, California's oldest family-run winery.
It is also one of the more geologically and climactically diverse districts. The valley includes and overlaps four distinct Sonoma County sub-appellations, including Carneros, Moon Mountain District, Sonoma Mountain and Bennett Valley. With mountains, benchlands, plains, abundant sunshine and the cooling effects of the nearby Pacific, this appellation can successfully produce a wide range of grape varieties. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gewürztraminer, and most notably, Zinfandel all thrive here. Ancient Zinfandel vines over 100 years old produce small crops of concentrated, spicy fruit, which in turn make some of the Valley's most unique wines. These can also be made as “field blends” (wines made from a mix of grape varieties grown in the same vineyard) along with Petite Sirah, Carignan and Alicante Bouschet.