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Submitted By: Lewis Perdue, September 01, 2009

Sonoma Valley estate applies stringent sustainable practices to all aspects of business and is instrumental in developing an environmentally friendly 12-bottle corrugated shipper.

August 25, 2009 (Sonoma, CA) Gundlach Bundschu, California’s oldest family-owned winery, became one of only 12 wineries to earn the distinguished Green Business Certification from Sonoma County. Gundlach Bundschu began to work towards certification shortly after the pilot program was launched just over a year ago and received its certification this summer.

Green Business Certification requires adhering to a strict set of standards in four areas, including water conservation, energy conservation, solid waste reduction and recycling, and pollution prevention. Certification requires inspection by a committee of local government and municipal utilities, including Sonoma County Water Agency, Pacific Gas & Electric, Sonoma County Waste Management Agency and Department of Emergency Services.

Gundlach Bundschu has long emphasized sustainable practices in its vineyards, resource use and waste management systems. In addition to utilizing organic methods and products whenever possible in its farming, the winery has implemented green practices throughout their business operations, converting all equipment and lighting to high efficiency systems, insulating all tanks and lines, composting organic waste and recycling all reusable inorganic materials. The winery is an industry leader in water and energy conservation, implementing a state-of-the-art water recycling program that filters winery waste water through ponds and wetlands and is powered by the first floating solar panels in Sonoma County. The winery is 60% solar powered.

In the process of receiving its green certification, Gundlach Bundschu was instrumental in the development of a corrugated shipper that eliminates the need for Styrofoam. “We could not find a reliable, environmentally-friendly alternative to the 12-pack Styrofoam shipper,” said Chris Holman, operations manager for Gundlach Bundschu. He adds, “We partnered with Unisource Worldwide, Inc., and are pleased to have been part of a solution to help remove Styrofoam from land fills.” As a result, Unisource is now producing a shipper that is made of 100% corrugated material with 20 to 40% post-consumer recycled content; 100% biodegradable and recyclable, has a minimal increase in weight over Styrofoam and a decrease from other cardboard designs, and meets United Parcel Service standards.

This last hurdle cleared, Gundlach Bundschu had its final inspection by all four agencies earlier this summer and was awarded its certification. A formal ceremony was held in July, when the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors presented Jeff Bundschu with the certification.


Founded in 1858, Gundlach Bundschu is California’s oldest family-owned winery. Currently run by the sixth generation of the Bundschu family, the historic winery focuses on making small lots of ultra-premium wines from its estate vineyard in southern Sonoma Valley. The vineyard lies at the base of the Mayacamas Mountain Range where the Sonoma Valley, Carneros and Napa Valley appellations intersect. Gundlach Bundschu is open for tasting from 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. The winery is located at 2000 Denmark Street, Sonoma, CA 95476. Phone: (707) 938-5277. For more information, please visit


The Bay Area Green Business Program distinguishes small businesses that protect, preserve and sustain our environment. This partnership of environmental agencies and utilities assists, offers incentives, and verifies that participating businesses conserve energy and water, minimize waste, prevent pollution, and shrink their carbon footprints. Businesses that meet these standards are officially recognized as Bay Area Green Businesses. More information at

Contact: Susan Sueiro

Phone: (707) 939-3005