our story

Abbot’s Passage is a winery and mercantile located in the heart of Glen Ellen. We’re inspired by the paths less traveled. We celebrate processes and products that embrace the exceptional. Whether you’re new to our valley or a seasoned explorer, here’s to something unexpected, but just what you were looking for.

Nestled between rows of 80-year old vines and surrounded by the storied hills of Sonoma, finding Abbot’s Passage means you are both lost and found. Our eclectic collection of Rhône-style wines inspires a winery and curated mercantile experience that challenges convention. Whether coming to taste, shop, play or celebrate, our collective invites friends and family to come often and stay awhile.

our wine

Field-driven blending and co-fermentation are at the core of every bottle. Our small-lot blends showcase grapes from notable but often overlooked vineyards—bringing together the best of Sonoma and beyond. Unique partnerships allow us to explore how different varietals work together, accentuating each other’s best characteristics to create wines as richly layered as they are approachable.

In a world and industry so measured and so exact, we’ve chosen to embrace the beauty and nuance in imperfection. In short, we’re taking a turn off the beaten path, journeying far from the expected, and exploring fantastic new blends, and embracing new and old-world winemaking techniques.

In 2020, when Glen Ellen became the permanent home of Abbot’s Passage, we inherited something exceedingly rare: an old-growth vineyard populated exclusively by a 1940 planting of Zinfandel vines. Our goal was to breathe new life and a fresh perspective into this historic vineyard by crossing the vines, in a technique known as grafting, with new varietals like Mourvèdre, Carignan, and Petit Sirah. The resulting vines are one-of-a-kind. Completely unique to Abbot’s Passage. We’re evolving our vineyard and its palette not in the lab, but in the fields themselves. We look forward to what this vineyard will bear in future vintages. Stay tuned…

the mercantile

Treasures we found. Tokens that found us. Brands we return to time and time again. New pieces we discovered on our recent travels. Whether they come to us from across the road or across the country, we like to know the artisan and story behind each product.

In addition to carrying our favorite everyday items and clothing by quality purveyors we know and love, we emphasize products that are local, sustainably made, and sourced from female-run businesses.

the team

Katie Bundschu, The Vintner

For me, winemaking is a journey full of history & heritage. I’ve always kept my family’s story and process close to my heart. I knew we could create something different in Abbot’s Passage—something based on my point-of-view and perspective. As the first female winemaker in our six-generation California wine family, I felt I could add a new dimension to the Bundschu legacy. I understood the rules before choosing to break them, and more than 150 years after our family’s first harvest, Abbot’s Passage was born.

My vision was a winery dedicated to creating distinctive wine blends that both honor process and challenge conventional expectations. Each bottle embodies my unique perspective to bring vineyards, story and people together. To those along for the journey—my family, friends, colleagues, and most importantly each one of you—thank you.

Towle Merritt, The Vineyardist
Towle blends centuries-old tradition with innovation. Growing-up among the vines of Gundlach Bundschu’s Rhinefarm, he spent five months living and working in the vineyards of Sonoma’s sister city of Chambolle-Musigny in Burgundy after graduation. From then on, he never stopped exploring, immersing himself in the wine growing regions of Italy, Germany, and France and pushing the possibilities of vineyard cultivation here in California. Unafraid to adopt novel perspectives and pioneer new methods, Towle has established himself as a technological leader in the industry, landing on Wine Business Monthly’s Wine Industry Leaders list in 2018 and 2019.

Man in front of wine barrels
Joe Uhr, The Winemaker
Joe is a native of Sonoma County who tried to get away, but the allure of crafting grapes into wine called him back. For the past 14 years, he has worked for such esteemed producers as Duckhorn Vineyards, Kenwood, Bonny Doon, and now, Bundschu Company. He strives to strike the right balance between tradition and innovation, never afraid to embrace new winemaking techniques, but at the same time drawing on the Old World for inspiration and guidance. “My number one rule is to always let the vineyard and the vintage be the voice of the wine, not the winemaker.”

Kyle Kuklewski, The Chef
As Executive Chef at Abbot’s Passage, Kyle oversees our culinary program, developing classically Sonoma menus and seasonal wine country fare that accentuates our Rhone-inspired, small production wines. Showcasing the bounty of thoughtful, locally-sourced, sustainable ingredients from nearby farms and farmers is at the heart of Kyle’s food. With over a decade of experience working in fine dining restaurants and under Michelin rated chefs, Chef Kyle honed his culinary skills while developing a strong attention to detail, an appreciation for using only the finest quality ingredients, and a drive for creativity.