Relaxing on private patios set amid old-growth Zinfandel vines, visitors to Abbot’s Passage Winery and Mercantile can sample flights of limited-release wines and munch on charcuterie spreads. The clink of pucks and sounds of laughter echo from the Shuffleboard Social Club area with two courts and table settings. On one side, redwoods shield the sun, lizards hop among the vines, and bees buzz in the flowers. On the other, another sort of buzz emerges from the bottling line and crushing operations, providing a full grape-to-glass sensory experience in this recently opened destination in Glen Ellen.
The Bundschu family has been making wine since 1858, and now Katie Bundschu, a sixth-generation vintner, has combined winemaking, wine tasting, and a festive picnic atmosphere at this visitor center on a rustic 60-acre property. Focusing on small-lot blends, Bundschu is cofermenting different varietals together—such as chenin blanc and verdejo; syrah and viognier; and grenache, syrah, and mourvèdre—using grapes that she sources from “notable but often overlooked” vineyards in Sonoma County and beyond.
Abbot’s Passage Winery and Mercantile opened on the former Valley of the Moon estate in the summer of 2021 and is now ramping up to full operations. Wines can be sampled at the indoor wine bar, in front of the building on the patio areas, or behind the shop at a table among the vines, with well-educated staff providing background and tasting notes for the menu of small-lot wines with grapes sourced at area vineyards.
Guests will enjoy three-course meals of locally sourced foods with wine pairings, priced at $95. Currently, the vineyard tables offer charcuterie boards with cheeses and prosciutto, house-made dips, and seasoned popcorn—and fancy Shirley Temple drinks for the kids, as the location is dog- and family-friendly.
Visitors can conclude their visit with a custom espresso or coffee blend from female-owned, Berkeley-based Hedonic Coffee. Inside, the mercantile area hosts rotating art exhibits and displays of pottery and jewelry made by local female artists, along with other wine paraphernalia.
So, whether your preference is for red or white wines, a tasting at the wine bar, or an alfresco meal, Abbot’s Passage makes for a worthwhile pilgrimage to Wine Country. abbotspassage.com.