At a young age, Jeff Kunde remembers feeding cows out of the back of a beat-up truck, chucking hay with the velocity of a two-year-old. Kunde's father would sometimes let Jeff stand on the seat, the youngster's hands on the steering wheel while Dad threw the truck into compound low, nothing to disturb the impromptu driving lesson but endless fields.
During a summer break in college, Kunde later recalls plowing the fields at 4 o'clock in the morning, thinking to himself, "This is what I'm getting with my degree?"
But the importance of family has been realized many times over for Kunde, and it has always drawn him back to the family business.
The Kunde Estate came from humble beginnings, by industry standards. Jeff Kunde's Great Grandfather began the estate by buying 640 acres. That number pales in comparison to the now-goliath 1,850 acres that make up the largest contiguous acreage in the Sonoma Valley.
Indeed, at the property the highs are high and the lows are low. The Kunde Estate ranges from the Sonoma Valley floor to about 1,500 ft. above sea level. The varying ecosystems not only provide an amazing visual aesthetic, but also allow for the property to diversify. Micro-climates that alter surrounding flora and fauna provide ideal conditions for wines of distinctly differing tastes. A crop might flourish below sea level, while another plants best in the mountains.
Jeff Kunde is preparing for the family's 108th harvest. He's a 4th generation Kunde, and remains a loyal steward on behalf of the estate to which he was bequeathed. What the family is doing is pretty rare in the wine business, Kunde explains, as one of the only family-owned, estate-operated vineyards in Sonoma County.
Vineyard roots are rich with history here. The property kept operating through prohibition, as a real working ranch; crops to cattle. Kunde didn't produce its own wine until 1990. Prior to that time, the estate sold its fruit to high-end, oft-times award-winning wine outfits (Robert Mondavi, to name one of the more recognizable offerings).
The longevity behind the property is largely due to the social aspect of the operation. Kunde Family Estate regularly holds events, as part of its goal to give back to Sonoma, and its surrounding communities.
At least once a month, you'll find dogs happily bounding through the estate vineyards. The dogs come from The Humane Society, and many get adopted out at the end of the dog hike. Daily "Mountain Top" tastings take guests 1,400 ft. above sea level to a tasting deck that overlooks The Bay Area on one side, and miles upon miles of beautiful vistas and vineyards on the other.
Each experience is unique, which is why Kunde Family Estate made the perfect setting for an unforgettable night put on for Rapid Rewards Visa Signature Cardmembers by Southwest, Chase, and Visa Signature. Locally-sourced food from Park Avenue Catering, the first green certified caterer in Sonoma County, and Kunde-made wine was provided for Cardmembers who were able to forget their cares, and enjoy everything Kunde and Sonoma County had to offer.
These dinners provide the type of value you wouldn't normally expect from a credit card, and the Kunde Family Estate dinner was just one of many personal experiences our Chase Rapid Rewards Visa Signature Cardmembers can enjoy. Cardmembers are invited to take advantage of these types of events, where we show them our loyalty, as a way to say thank you, for showing theirs to us. This Cardmember dinner was an intimate, exclusive event where only 20 Cardmembers and their guests attended. Cardmembers were invited to mingle with guests from Southwest, Chase, and Visa Signature, while hearing interesting facts from Jeff and tasting a variety of Kunde wines. At the Kunde Cardmember dinner, Cardmembers quickly bonded with other guests over their love for Southwest, fine food, and remarkable wines.
Keep an eye out for the next Cardmember Exclusive Dinner.
We want to share with you unbelievable scenery, like that of Sonoma County, whether rural or urban, from people who care.
We want to introduce you to people like Jeff Kunde, a man whose heart is at the core of his work. A man who, when asked what he enjoys best, replies, "Seeing the property through other people's eyes.
“To see the expression on people's faces, it makes it all worth it."