Joe Uhr, Director of Winemaking

A Fourth generation Sonoma County native, Director of Winemaking Joe Uhr has always seen wine as a centerpiece of family tradition. “Food and wine were such an important part of my family gatherings from the earliest moments I can remember,” he recalls. Joe’s first experience in the cellar came during college while working for cult-favorite Bonny Doon in Santa Cruz. Although he was enrolled as a Marine Biology major and had dreams of traveling the world and diving in oceans, that first harvest, everything clicked. “Intertwining the personal and passion with science, and being able to work with my hands, it all made sense.” An extended trip to Europe post-graduation solidified his appreciation of the relationship between food, wine, culture, and celebration, and from there he knew what he wanted to do with his life.

The next decade, Joe worked in winery positions across Sonoma and Napa, solidifying his roots and learning to respect the heritage and traditions. Before joining Gundlach Bundschu, Joe worked as a part of the winemaking team at Duckhorn in Napa Valley, and while he enjoyed working with some of the best vineyards in the valley, he found himself missing the rich history and culture in Sonoma.

In 2015, Joe joined the GB team as Assistant Winemaker. “I instantly fell in love with the history, culture, and reverence for the people who came before. I really felt like my whole career had led me to this place and this time.”

With the Bundschu family, winemaking has always been a collaborative approach between the vineyard, family, and winemaker. There is a respect for mother nature and understanding that each year, she is in control. Today, working with our CCOF Organic certified estate, Joe focuses on listening to what the vineyard is telling him to create the purest expression of our organically grown estate wines. “Throughout my time here I’ve learned that the more you understand the nuances of a vineyard the more it rewards you. It’s like reading your favorite book over and over again. You pick up something new each time and it’s really beautiful.”