Have you tried wine tasting while hiking? Tasting zin in a zinfandel vineyard is pretty great! And so is enjoying rosé high above the vineyards in the shade of the oak trees! The hubs and I went on a little hike and drank a little wine as we toured Kunde Family Winery last weekend learning about their sustainable winegrowing practices!
We have both passed by this stunning vineyard hundreds of times and have been itching to get up on the hills and hike the vineyard. Tasting Kunde’s delicious wine was just a bonus!
Stop #1 – The Tasting Room
Arriving before the tasting room opened to the public, we gathered around and were handed a plastic wine glass. Nice start to a hike! Once everyone was there we were given instructions on the hike, some warnings about wildlife and we headed out toward the wine caves. John, our guide, did a wonderful job answering everyone’s questions about the winery, vineyards, winemaking, and the history of the valley.
Passing by the wine caves and behind the large stainless steel tanks, we walked as a large group eager to absorb everything on the tour! John stopped at the first low vineyard and explained how the vineyard team keeps the vines trimmed up and trained.
On our way to the ponds, we paused beneath a giant oak tree to learn about the old farming equipment and how it was used. The path was nice and wide and flat. Then turned onto a dirt path and started walking through the vineyard rows to the wastewater ponds. We were lucky enough to see baby geese and baby ducks!!! John talked about the water and ponds and we continued on through the vineyards while learning about the history of the valley.
Stop #2 – Sauvignon Blanc Wine Tasting
John led us on a slight detour out of the vineyards and into a small grove of oak trees. We all noticed the bucket with ice and wine in it and said how nice it would be to have these sorts of pit stops on all of our hikes! 🙂 The first Kunde wine we tasted was their Sauvignon Blanc. Delicious and refreshing! Oh and we learned a magic trick with wine bottles with screwcaps! John showed us how to open the wine by sliding it down his arm (check out the YouTube video at the end of this post to see him do this with the rosé!).
All of us were in awe of how beautiful the vineyards are right now, we didn’t know it would only get better from here!
We followed a dirt road and went behind the barn where some friendly cows were hanging out. They saw us coming and immediately started moooooing at us. It was like they were the Kunde welcoming committee to the upper vineyards! Most of us are city people and seeing cows up close is always so much fun!
The group walked through vineyard rows as we started to gain a little elevation on the hike and were able to see the old homestead. The vines were leafing out and tiny grape clusters were hiding under the leaves just peeking out in the breeze as we walked by. The path ended up on another dirt road and we climbed up from here. It was a bit steep but we stopped often.
An owl box was just off the dirt road so John took the time to explain the importance of owls at Kunde and other vineyards. We even got to see the rodent boneyard below! These owls have been busy! They do have a beautiful house as all the owl boxes are painted and get to live in the vineyards while reducing the rodent population. Win win!
Stop #3 – Rosé Wine Tasting with Views
As we climbed in elevation, the views became more and more spectacular! Sugarloaf Mountain is behind Kunde and Hood Mountain is to the north. Both were badly burned in the October fires but Kunde Family Winery was saved, thankfully! We were all shedding our outer layers by now so a stop in the shade was welcome. A stop in the shade with rosé and views of the Sonoma Valley was even better!
John performed his snazzy wine opening tricks again and explained to us how the rosé was made as well as the scenery we were looking at. Rolling hills of vineyards mixed in with native trees and the Mayacamas behind us. Absolutely magical!
Stop #4 – Old Vine Zin Tasting in the Zinfandel Vineyard
Leaving the shade we followed the dirt road down into a small canyon full of old and really old zinfandel vines. We paused frequently to check out the really old gnarly vines and learn more about the history of the land. We came across the compost pile and John paused to let us know there are parts of the property that won’t be planted because they had found obsidian on the land. They are leaving it as is to protect the historical significance of the Native Americans that used to roam the land.
Heading back up out of the small canyon and through younger zinfandel vineyards we stopped at another shady spot to taste the old vine zin…in the zinfandel vineyards! The wine was velvety smooth and so delicious! The color in the sunlight was striking. Normally we enjoy our zin in the evening but seeing it in full sun was a bit mesmerizing. It also could have been the fact that we were standing in the vineyards with amazing views!
Stop #5 – Boot Hill and Lunch
It was a short walk through the vineyards to reach our final wine stop at Boot Hill. This spot was by far the best! For one, there were flushing toilets we raced over to. But seriously, the views from here are so spectacular! You can see most of the Kunde property from here. Vineyards to the north, south, west, and east up the mountains! We enjoyed all of this in a beautifully manicured garden and lawn under large oak trees.
John poured us some Kunde chardonnay as we explored the garden. Then he poured some Kunde Meritage and explained the history of the blend. The group dispersed and found their spots to enjoy lunch. The hubs and I hung out with John and talked about hiking in the area. He was a wonderful tour guide and super experienced.
After our final stop, we headed back down the hill to the Kunde Family Winery. The dirt/gravel road was slightly steep at the beginning of the descent but leveled off as we walked past the tiered vineyards behind the winery. The way the rows hug the hillside makes it seem like a work of art. Everything perfectly spaced but curved with the natural path of the hill.
You can end with more tasting in the tasting room and can definitely purchase the favorites you tasted on the tour. This winery is lovely to visit even if you don’t go on the vineyard hike but we highly recommend signing up for the next available hike!
Parking is free. The cost of the tour was $30/person and well worth it! Restrooms at the tasting room and Boot Hill, a portable potty was at the rosé stop. The tour we were on was 3.84 miles with 354 ft elevation gain/loss.
The tours book fast so check out their website Kunde Family Winery and schedule the next tour!
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Don’t forget to check out the video of the hike on our Hike Then Wine YouTube channel!