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Copyright © 2015
Forkmedia LLC

by Fred McMillin
for April 18, 2000


Shake and Bake


San Francisco, April 18, 1906, 5:13 A.M. "A puncheon of Red Wine was shaken from its saddle of the third row right above my desk and the Claret flooded everything."

Remains of Gundlach-Bundschu

Remains of Gundlach-Bundschu

and Bake

"Half an hour after the shock a mountain of heavy dense smoke loomed up from the heart of the city. ...The furious wall of fire consumed the Palace Hotel. Our building, that had never held a better and larger assortment of wines, fell at 5 o'clock."

...written by Charles Bundschu

The Revival

Jacob Gundlach had made his fortune by brewing beer in Bavaria. He arrived in San Francisco in 1850. Eight years later he planted the historic Rhine Farm vineyard in Sonoma Valley. Son-in-law Charles Bundschu soon became a dynamic partner. After the quake and then Prohibition, winemaking stopped but grape production continued.

In 1968, the great-great-grandson of Jacob, Jim Bundschu, began replanting the old vineyard and even used some grafts from the original varieties. In 1973 he reopened the winery.

Bundschu Whites

An 1893 Sonoma Wine Directory says the Gundlach's 150 acres "makes mostly white wines." Today, one of the whites regularly scores well with the critics. The 1997 just won Best Value at my last tasting. Here it is.

Wine of the Day

1997 Rhinefarm Vineyards Gewürztraminer
Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County
Style—The sugar content of 0.4% is below the detection threshold of we normal mortals, so it tastes dry.
Aussie Critic James Halliday—He mentions the G.B. whites first in his California Atlas, and the first white discussed is the Gewürz..."often praised, crisp, spice and lychee accents."
Food Affinities—Spicy fare, be it Cajun, Mexican, Indian, etc.
Price—$12 range
Contact—The next generation, Jeff Bundschu...another shaker and mover, just like his dad, Jim.
Phone (707) 938-5277, FAX (707) 938-9460

Postscript—For the Younger Generation

Jeff is co-founder of Winebrats. Ask him about the organization's new wine book, or watch for that name in your bookstore.

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.


This page created April 2000