The family has always set high standards in the business, but that certain something that really makes a GB wine is a little more elusive. It is timeworn family talent, effused with overall good humor and enthusiasm that permeates the Gundlach Bundschu tradition and carries the family through the best and worst that the years have to offer. Tracing the threads of a seven-generation history woven on and around Rhinefarm, one can't shake the sense that there's a bit of something akin to magic at work here: one might call it soul.
Bavarian-born Jacob Gundlach set sail for America in November 10, 1850 and arrived in San Francisco exactly one year later. This quiet man of action proved his mettle (and wine-savvy) during the voyage, when the boat was shipwrecked off the west coast of Africa. Not only did he rescue his shipmates, but enlivened their New Years Eve on the island by saving some wine from the sinking ship, and according to his journal, brewing a "very good punch." Within a year of arrival in San Francisco, he had established the Bavaria Brewery, which quickly became a San Francisco institution.
Following in his father's footsteps, Jacob next looked to winemaking: a relatively unexplored opportunity in America at this time. In 1857, he partnered with Emil Dresel to buy a 400-acre parcel of land in Sonoma, which they called Rhinefarm. (Only 11 years earlier this land had been under Mexican rule.) The next year, Jacob traveled to his homeland and brought back European rootstock for planting on Rhinefarm, along with a childhood-sweetheart bride named Eva. The first Rhinefarm Vintage was celebrated in 1861, and by this time, Jacob and Eva had a new baby daughter named Francisca.
Enter the dashing Charles Bundschu, from Mannheim, Germany, who brings his florid prose and keen business sense to the company in 1868. Emil Dresel dies the next year, leaving his portion of the farm to his brother Julius, and J. Gundlach & Co. is established. Charles marries Francisca in 1875. During these years, phylloxera becomes a major threat to vineyards throughout the state. Julius and Jacob's successful experiments to develop a resistant rootstock spare Rhinefarm from total devastation, and revolutionize viticultural methods.
All sizes are 750mL unless otherwise noted.
Vintages and ratings subject to change at any time.
All pricing and availability subject to change.