Kunde Estate Winery & Vineyards

We visited Kunde Estate Winery & Vineyards on Memorial Day to do some wine tasting and tour of the wine cave. Neither one of us had heard of this winery (although the name sounds vaguely familiar), I selected this winery because of the wine cave and a chance to try new things.

2007-05-28 - Bodega Bay - 020 The fee for wine tasting for their regular wines is $5 per person and if you want to try the reserves, it’s another $10. We decided to just try the regular wines.

Our wine server started us off with Kunde 2005 Sauvignon Blanc. We both very much liked the Sauvignon Blanc. It was slightly lighter than what most Sauvignon Blancs usually are but had a very pleasing and pleasant taste. It ended up being our most favorite from the other four wines that we tried and quite possible a new Sauvignon Blanc favorite in general.

Next up was the Kunde Chardonnay, which was actually quite good also. Andrea, who usually doesn’t like2007-05-28 - Bodega Bay - 023 Chardonnay, actually liked this one. It had a nice spicy taste and was overall very smooth. This was probably our second favorite of the four wines we tasted.

We tried the Kunde 2003 Zinfandel, which also wasn’t bad either. We completed with the Kunde Syrah. Andrea and I never had Syrah before, we mistakingly thought it was desert wine and had steered away, but learned that it’s an alternative to Merlot. Our wine server explained the Syrah was for the Merlot folks who were growing tired of Merlot and wanted a more complex taste. I thought it was different, tasted similar to Merlot (dry). Definitely have to try it with some red meat. Andrea isn’t much for red wines, especially dry reds.

After wine tasting, we sat around and took some pictures while waiting for 2007-05-28 - Bodega Bay - 027the cave tours to start. The cave tours start every hour. The cave is carved in from some 5 million year old volcanic rock (you get a glimpse of the volcanic rock in their VIP room). The cave is naturally cooled at about 65° F, which is quite cool. It was a bit warm at 77° F, so entering the cave was a nice change in atmosphere. Before entering the cave, we got a chance to see their “Demonstration” vines. These are actual vines that are growing various grapes for their various wines that Kunde does not use to produce actual wines until the vines have reached their third year of grape producing. It was very cool to see these baby grapes that look liked small berries. We also learned that when a winery calls itself an estate winery, it means that it grows its own grapes for use in its own wines versus purchasing grapes from another grower, which a few other wineries in Kenwood does from Kunde. We also learned that Kunde is currently owned by the fourth generation Kunde, Bob Kunde.

So on to the cave tour. The cave tour isn’t super exciting, but is interesting and educational as we learn bits 2007-05-28 - Bodega Bay - 033and pieces of how wine is stored and aged from our Kunde tour guide. Kunde uses French Oak wine barrels which cost almost $1,000 per barrel versus American produced barrels that cost $300 per barrel. Also Kunde does not use a barrel for more than three years, even though the barrels can last as long as six, they believe this prevents possible contamination. At the very end of the cave is a nice raised area where they rent out for private corporate events. It is also where some of the volcanic rock is on display. Overall it is worth doing, especially since it’s free. The tour doesn’t last all too long, under an hour.

Kunde Estate Winery & Vineyards, all 2,000 acres, is located next door to Kenwood Winery in Sonoma County at 10155 Sonoma Hwy., Kenwood, CA. There phone number is (707) 833-5501.

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