Take a trip through Sonoma Valley’s spectacular working wine caves, which offer cool adventures during the warmer months.
Courtesy of Gundlach Bundschu
Eclectic and Exclusive
B Wise Vineyards
Although the tasting room for B Wise Vineyards is in downtown Kenwood, the more exclusive wine cave tour is at the 100-acre estate property on the Mayacamas Mountains. The appointment-only tour of the cavern includes a visit to an intimate tasting room, a stop at the leather-and-cowhide man cave (with the option of tasting library wines), cheese and charcuterie pairings, and sweeping views of the vineyards and Sonoma Valley.
Fun fact: The entry to the cave features a statue of Bacchus and a mysterious bullet lodged in one of the planks of recycled wood. $45. 9077 Sonoma Hwy., Kenwood, (707) 282-9169, bwisevineyards.com.
Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards
Long before Gloria Ferrer began producing award-winning sparkling and still wines, it focused on planting premium vineyards and designing the caves beneath the winery in Carneros. Tours of the expansive caves, held three times a day, cover the aging and sealing processes used for the sparkling and still wines, plus a tasting of the winery’s offerings. Private tours with food and wine are also available by reservation.
Fun fact: The caves are inspired by those found at the winery’s parent company, Freixenet, in the Catalonia region of Spain. $20–$30. 23555 Hwy. 121, Sonoma, (707) 933-1917, gloriaferrer.com.
Slice of History
Gundlach Bundschu Winery
Located on the southwest slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains, the Gundlach Bundschu Estate Vineyard offers a reservations-only farming tour and cave tasting, which starts with a walk through the vineyards for majestic views of the San Pablo Bay and the famous wind tunnel known as the Petaluma Gap. Along the tour of the cave, you’ll pass the 2,000 barrels lining the walls, and get a peek at the cave dining room and a magnificent redwood table that overlooks the barrels. End with a tasting of new releases, including wines that were aged in the cave.
Fun fact: Established in 1858, Gundlach Bundschu is the oldest family-owned winery in California; the caves were completed in 1991. $30. 2000 Denmark St., Sonoma, (707) 938-5277 (Mon.–Fri.), (707) 939-3015 (Sat.–Sun.), gunbun.com.
Deep and Inviting
Kunde Family winery
With a capacity of 6,000 barrels, the wine caverns at the Kunde family’s estate are among the largest in Northern California. The tunnels can be viewed for free daily on a tour that covers the history of the property and the barrel-aging process. For larger groups or a more exclusive experience, book one of the private tours, which includes a barrel tasting and can also feature a chocolate or cheese pairing.
Fun fact: Bored into five-million-year-old volcanic rock, the tunnels feature a year-round temperature of 58 degrees and high humidity. $20–$50. 9825 Sonoma Hwy., Kenwood, (707) 282-1537, kunde.com.
Are we in France or California? At 1,100 feet above Sonoma Valley, the caves at Moon Mountain Vineyard are among the most unusual in Wine Country. Their 100 percent natural rock interior and distinctive smell are similar to the classic caverns of Europe. The appointment-only tour includes cheese pairings and tastings of the winery’s new releases, which are only available on-site.
Fun fact: While most caves store barrels in stacks of two or three, Repris’ barrels stand individually, a custom commonly found in the elite caves of Bordeaux, France. $60. 1700 Moon Mountain Rd., Sonoma, (707) 931-7701, repriswines.com.