They are big questions for any wedding: where to celebrate the special day? And how to pull it off without stress so that the betrothed can actually enjoy the event?
The answer: select a venue that offers a variety of spaces, an array of custom options, and - this is important - on-staff wedding planners to pull it all together.
Kunde Family Estate fits the bill beautifully. As one of Sonoma County’s larger wineries, it is designed with weddings in mind. Boasting 1,850 pristine acres in Kenwood, the estate offers an array of locations for couples to seal their love, including the Dunfillan Ruins, Boot Hill, the Aging Caves, Olive Hill, and the Hill House.
Olive Hill is a particularly marvelous location, nestled amid a beautiful grove of 150 year-old olive trees, which have been on the property since the days of horse-and-plow, and still bear fruit each harvest. It’s a popular site for up to 75 guests, with full, white cloth dinners set up among the trees.
The Dunfillan Ruins are magical, too, for larger groups up to 250 guests. Built in the late 1800’s by winemaking pioneer John Drummond, the original Dunfillan Winery site is where California’s first varietal labeled Cabernet Sauvignon was crafted and bottled. Now, the stone ruins of the Dunfillan Winery are surrounded by a secluded five-acre meadow framed with scenic vineyards, mountain views, and majestic oak trees. The space itself is an open courtyard, inside what used to be the winery walls, still breathtaking in their local stone and brick construction with arches, window portals, and the ghosts of marvelous vintages past.
Many couples gravitate toward the Hill House, meanwhile, charmed by the craftsman-styled abode that was the original home to Kinney (the namesake for Kinneybrook ranch) and Henry Hawes, who ran a renowned herd of registered Hereford cattle on the flats and hills of the property in the early 1900s.
The high elevation site is the first draw, featuring breathtaking views of Sonoma Valley and the Mayacamas Mountain range, and anchored by a ceremony lawn framed by Italian Cypress trees and vineyards. Yet just as important is the home itself, which offers year-round availability in all kinds of weather, and those fabled Valley of the Moon views captured by picture windows.
The property is self-contained, meaning a wedding party has everything at its fingertips for pre-ceremony preparation, the vows, and the reception. The bride and her attendants can get ready in the luxurious bridal suite done in creams, gold and antiques, the union can be officiated outdoors, in a private dining room, or a wood paneled living room with fireplace, and the reception can be held on the lawns or in the grand banquet room with gleaming wood floors.
All that’s required, really, is showing up, since up to 60 guests can sample a variety of Kunde wines, enjoy a catered dinner, then dance to live or DJ music. The wedding couple can fully join in the fun, too, since the winery’s event planners manage the details, working with a list of preferred vendors including photographers, officiants, music, flowers, transportation and more.
Details: 9825 Sonoma Hwy., Kenwood, 707-833-5501, kunde.com.
Tip: Don’t forget transportation for the special day. A classic limo makes an elegant statement, and guests can be easily shuttled to and from the winery in gracious Town cars or charter buses.