Winemaker Zeke Neeley first fell in love with Sonoma Valley when he came here as a small boy to visit his grandparents. It was a welcome escape from the foggy town of Daly City, south of San Francisco, where he grew up. After getting a degree in Biochemistry, he worked in the biotech industry on cancer research but his love for wine country led him to return to U.C. Davis to get a M.S. in Viticulture and Enology and pursue a career in winemaking. Now, with over 20 years experience, and the last 15 as head winemaker at both Napa and Sonoma wineries, making wine in Sonoma Valley feels like a homecoming. Winemaking at Kunde is a challenge and a pleasure for Zeke. “From a historic perspective, there aren’t many properties as significant to winemaking in California as the Kunde Estate, and from a winemaking perspective, it is a treat to work with these dramatic hillside vineyard blocks. I strive to showcase the characteristics of this ranch and highlight the uniqueness of the wines made from the estate-grown fruit.”
Heralding from the Napa Valley, Ryan spent his youth assisting his father at Domain Chandon, where he cultivated an early appreciation for vineyards and winemaking. In 2009, Ryan began his winemaking career at Girard Winery in Sonoma, which has been followed up with winemaking stints in Napa, New Zealand, Australia, and Germany. In 2014, Ryan began his journey with us at Kunde. “I’ve had the privilege of working with a diverse range of grape varietals, including some of the oldest Zinfandel vines in Sonoma County. The Kunde family has welcomed me with open arms, making me feel like an integral part of their winemaking legacy.”
New to the Kunde team in 2023, Chris grew up in Washington state in an agriculture and horticulture-based family and community. He started his winemaking career in Washington but has continued to hone both his viticulture and enological skills over the past decade in France, Chile, and Napa. His winemaking philosophy centers around his belief that wine is a near-perfect expression of individuality, deriving from both terroir and human intervention.
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