(Or, just say Gun Bun because that’s much easier and also their website: www.gunbun.com). In keeping with my non-Arizona week of posts, I’m talking about one of my favorite wines/vineyards: Gundlach Bundschu. That’s because on our trip to Cali, we took a pretty cool tour of the vineyard (also called the Rhinefarm).
We stopped at the Gundlach Bundschu on recommendation of friends the first time we went to Sonoma a few years back. We had managed to escape several tastings without wanting to join a wine club while we were there–until we did our very last tasting of the trip at Gun Bun. We both looked at each other once we had tried everything on the tasting menu and exchanged a look of semi-nervous, semi-happiness because we both knew we were going to join their wine club. We seriously liked every single wine we tasted of theirs, including the normally sweeter ones that we don’t typically go for. We also love this place because it’s exactly what small, local business is all about. To this day, six generations after they began, this is still a family run effort and they are sustainable as well. They’ve got owls on property to control the gopher population, recycle all sorts of material including 70% of the winery water, and have solar which provides 60% of the winery’s power. They’ve had their ups and downs as a business, including weathering the prohibition era, but have always found their way back to making amazing wine. They are considered California’s oldest continuously family-run winery and Sonoma’s second oldest winery.
Naturally, once we found out we were headed to Sonoma for our friend’s wedding, we knew we’d be paying Gun Bun a visit because members have some perks that non-members don’t and it saves you money if you want to do any of the extra experiences while you visit. We arranged to go on the Pinzgauer excursion and we had the best time! We were fortunate to have an awesome and friendly tour guide: Rob Bundschu, an heir of the founder, Jacob Gundlach.
The Pinzgauer excursion takes you all around the Rhinefarm in an old Austrian Army transport vehicle (apparently built for the Swiss) where you’ll get to some remote spots on their 320-acre estate and learn about the history, the wines, and the vines growing throughout. You’ll make stops along the way and soak in the beautiful views and imbibe on five estate selection wines while you’re at it. At the end, you’ll get to pop into their cave where they’ve got oak barrels working to transform their creations into delectable wines. This is available by reservation only but is super worth it! We had so much fun. While the Pinz holds 12 smiling faces, we only had 6 (plus Rob) and really got to ask questions and learn about the property and history. At one point along the tour, we could see San Francisco off in the distance because it was a fairly clear day out and the Rhinefarm is only 35 miles north of it. We also learned that of their 320-acres (down from what used to be 400), over a 100 acres are divided into 60 blocks dedicated to growing vines, which are all hand-farmed. To learn more about the growing conditions/vineyard itself, click here.
Gun Bun also has different events happening throughout the year, such as their Huichica Music Festival and an upcoming Harvest Celebration. We have six bottles of wine shipped to us four times a year and it’s seriously like getting extra Christmas presents throughout the year when our shipment arrives. We almost always enjoy a glass the same day we receive our shipment. As a member you receive discounts off of additional wine purchases (and shipping, depending on which state you reside in and their wine laws- AZ is often excluded from their awesome shipping deals- I believe this is changing this summer…) and you’ll receive 20% off of merchandise as well.
In fact, you receive these perks as a member (obviously you have to be 21+):
- Access to wine selections available exclusively from the winery
- Club exclusive pricing on wine and merchandise ranging from 15%-20%. Savings based on club preference.
- Rewards on your club anniversary and birthday month
- 4 concert tickets per calendar year
- Invitations to special events and opportunities to party with the Bundschus
- Rewards through our Friends-with-Benefits referral program
- Complimentary for member and up to 5 guests in the Tasting Room (value of up to $90/visit)
- Complimentary tasting for 2 in the Courtyard (value of up to $50/visit)
- Complimentary Heritage Experience for 2 (limit one per calendar year, only applies to 12 bottle club members)
- One seasonal Farming and Cave Tour for 2 each calendar year.
- One Vineyard Excursion or Pinz Spinz for 2 (May-October) each calendar year.
- Friends accompanying members receive 25% savings on regular tour pricing.
- Members receive invitations to special events and opportunities to party with the Bundschus.
Not too shabby of a deal if you visit up there often or live in the area. We feel like the wine is a perk enough itself, so we stay members. =)
If you’re headed to the Napa or Sonoma areas, definitely stop in at Gundlach Bundschu and at least enjoy a tasting while you’re there. It’s a little off the beaten path but easily accessible and totally worth it. From downtown Sonoma, it takes maybe 10 minutes by car to get there. Let me know if you pay them a visit and how much you loved their wines as much as we do! Next week, we’re back to Arizona-focused posts but in the meantime, have a great weekend! Cheers!