Magazine

Around Sonoma With Winemaker Katie Bundschu

Sixth-generation vintner Katie Bundschu shares her favorite spots in and around Sonoma.

Growing up, sixth-generation vintner and all-around adventurer Katie Bundschu loved working alongside her dad at her family’s Sonoma winery, Gundlach Bundschu. Her dad gave Katie her own short row of vines to care for; they dubbed them “Katie’s Vines.”

These days, Bundschu has a bigger project of her own, the newly launched Abbot’s Passage Winery and Mercantile in Glen Ellen, which features Bundschu’s blended wines alongside a chic collection of home goods and accessories from local, women-owned businesses. Bundschu is aiming for a relaxed, casual wine experience with tasting spots nestled right among the vineyards, as well as outdoor group games like shuffleboard. It all has a bit of a tailgating spirit, which seems right from a vintner who also has an MBA in sports marketing. And the wines are top-notch. “I get to be a little more playful and adventurous by co-fermenting different varietals together,” she says, “whether it’s Chenin Blanc and Verdejo, or Syrah and Viognier, or the Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre.”

Just east toward Sonoma are “to die for” croissants and cappuccinos from local favorite BAKER & COOK. 18812 Highway 12, Sonoma, 707-938-7329, bakerandcooksonoma.com

Bundschu’s cocktail of choice is a Hawaiian saltedplum margarita called the Li Hing Margarita from the popular STARLING BAR SONOMA. Madcap late-night rounds of Uno and bingo are a bonus. 19380 Highway 12, Sonoma, 707-938-7442, starlingsonoma.com

Her favorite coastal getaway is DILLON BEACH, where she brings her dog Bacchus for a romp. 1 Beach Ave., Dillon Beach, dillonbeachresort.com

Bundschu is inspired by the vast inventory at SIGN OF THE BEAR KITCHENWARE on Sonoma Plaza. “You feel like you could be the best chef ever when you walk in there — ‘I can do all of these things,’” she jokes. 435 First St. W, Sonoma, 707-996-3722, signofthebear.com

For an ideal visit to ABBOT’S PASSAGE, Bundschu says, “First,
I’d have a glass of wine and I’d order a grazing board, with charcuterie, cheese, dips, dried fruit, nuts, and fresh bread. And then I’d shop and buy a hat, and maybe pick up some earrings or a necklace.” 777 Madrone Road, Glen Ellen, 707-939-3017, abbotspassage.com

Editor’s Note: Travel, dining and wine tasting can be complicated right now. Use our inspirational ideas to plan ahead for your next outing, be it this week or next year. If you visit restaurants, wineries, and other businesses during the pandemic, remember to call ahead, make reservations, wear a mask and social distance.

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