The German Jacob Gundlach (*1894) emigrated from his native Bavaria to San Francisco in 1850. In 1858 he bought land in Sonoma County
(California) and founded a winery called "Rhinefarm" together with his partner Emil Dresel. This was located in the immediate vicinity of the Buena Vista Winery
of the famous Californian wine-growing pioneer Agoston Haraszthy
(1812-1869), with whom Gundlach was friends. One year later, Gundlach brought back some vine material from a trip to his homeland, including Riesling vines. The first wine was pressed in 1861. In that year, Charles Bundschu, a German from Mannheim, joined the company. His business acumen brought the winery a great upswing over the next 30 years, including the construction of a large winery in San Francisco. After the death of Jacob Gundlach in 1894, the company was renamed Gundlach-Bundschu. The great earthquake in 1906 destroyed the wineries and the office in San Francisco. However, work continued and the wines won numerous prizes in the following years. After the death of his father Charles, Walter Bundschu took over the management of the winery in 1910
In 1919, prohibition
came into force in the USA and the winery had to cease operations. Walter Bundschu planted pear trees on a large part of the vineyards, from the remaining smaller area he produced grape juice and measuring wine
. After the lifting of the American prohibition in 1933, under the leadership of Towle Bundschu, the winery was reactivated under the name "Vineburg Wine Company" and the pear trees were again replaced by vines. However, no wine was produced, but the grapes were sold to other wineries. In 1973, the winery was reorganised and refounded under the current name "Gundlach-Bundschu". Now in the fifth generation of the family, Jeff (President and CEO) and Jim Bundschu lead the company. The historic vineyards of the "Rhinefarm Vineyards" are divided into three large areas: Home Ranch, Huichica and La Paz. Together with other vineyards, the total area under vine covers around 150 hectares. They are planted with Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Gamay Noir, Gewürztraminer, Kleinberger (Elbling), Merlot, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Tempranillo and Zinfandel. The pure premium wines (Premiere Estate Wines) are made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Around 50,000 cases, or 600,000 bottles of wine, are produced annually.