Abbot’s Passage is a distinctive destination in downtown Sonoma that is home to unique regularly scheduled workshops that pair hands-on education
and exploration with tastings of Katie Bundschu’s small-lot, co-fermented field blend wines. Grapes are sourced from prominent storied vineyards, and she’s apt to make wines just as unique as her space, such as a Chenin Blanc/Verdejo blend.
For those of you unfamiliar with Katie, she’s a sixth-generation vintner from the Gundlach-Bundschu family— the oldest family-owned winery in California. She’s a true powerhouse and innovator, still playing an active role in her family’s winery, but also daring to try something new on her own. Leveraging 30 years of single-vineyard sourcing that GunBun is known for, Katie’s concept represents a quest to discover new concepts and make unique character-rich field blends instead of single-varietal wines.
The historic red barn location just off Sonoma Square highlights her beautiful lineup of wines, as well as a curated shopping experience of items from small-production, local creators. I’m still swooning over the jewelry selection! Shout-out to Therese Sueiro, their amazing Merchandise Manager! And of course, as mentioned and what brought me there, Abbot’s Passage hosts a slew of unique hands-on events, including how to make bitters, watercolor paint, floral jewelry, and more! Head to their site for all the details. This is definitely one place I can’t wait to return again and again on my visits to Sonoma!
For those of you interested in the actual Kombucha process, it's a fermented beverage, similar to wine, but also completely different. Kelly McVicker of McVicker Pickles led us through the process and I was surprised by how easy she made it seem (but then again... she's a pickling goddess, so we'll see how it goes once I get home and on my own...). We also started with a pre-made Scoby purchased from Etsy, so that helped simplify the process.
To make Kombucha, you simply start with a large glass container of boiling water, such as a gallon-sized mason jar. You add some tea bags and sugar, let it cool or add cold water to bring down the temp. Remove the tea bags. Add the Scoby. Let it sit for 7-14 days, remove the Scoby and put into smaller bottle-shaped containers with a small additional amount of sugar or fruit to start second-fermentation and add the "fizz" we're used to in Kombucha. After 2-3 days, ta-da! It's ready! In theory, it sounds easy, but like I said... now that I have my container going through first fermentation at home, we'll see how well I do keeping it up.
If you want step-by-step instructions, check out this site for a more detailed explanation, or sign up for Kelly's next class! She has an event page on her site, and also partners frequently with Abbot's Passage to hold experiences like I one I attended. You can find their schedule here.