Sonoma County: February 2008 Archives

A Deed Very Well Done

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By Courtney Cochran

With its cultish following and flare for colorful tasting parties (think Prohibition-themed romps, elf-themed holiday fêtes and rowdy wine club shindigs in spots like New Orleans and Memphis), we're pretty sure Gundlach Bundschu's ( upcoming "Deed Day" celebration to commemorate the Sonoma winery's 150th anniversary will be an unforgettable affair.

Festivities get underway at California's oldest family-owned and -operated winery at 11:00am on March 12, with a special ceremony slated from 11:30am to noon to pay tribute to the Sesquicentennial anniversary of the signing of the original deed to the property in 1858. Special tastings and tours will follow, and discounts on wine purchases will be available throughout the day. And although "Deed Day" is scheduled to wrap up at 4:30pm, fans are invited to continue celebrating with the family throughout the year, since the 12th marks the kick-off to what they promise will be a yearlong anniversary celebration.

Given that it's "Gun Bun," we'd expect nothing less.

Gone Sbragia Gone

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By Courtney Cochran


After 32 years helming winemaking duties for Beringer - during which the winery was twice recognized for producing Wine Spectator's Wine of the Year - Ed Sbragia has left the famed property to focus on his own wine project, Sbragia Family Vineyards in Healdsburg. The respected winemaker called his departure "bittersweet," but says the brand will be in good hands going forward under the stewardship of his longtime assistant Laurie Hook, known for her exacting standards and rigorous quality control.

Sbragia's role in raising the profile of the historic property cannot be underestimated. After decades of producing mostly bland, unforgettable wine following Prohibition, the languishing property began a turnaround in the 1970s under the ownership of the family behind the Nestlé brand. Sbragia came on board as part of this turnaround and in short order was producing award-winning wines that reaffirmed Beringer's reputation and propelled the property back into the purview of the international cognoscenti.