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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Two wine pioneers lost

Within a few days we lost two people important to North Coast wine.

Saralee Kunde passed in late January. She grew up on a dairy ranch then became involved with wine grapes after marrying into the Kunde family. She was a symbol of Sonoma County agriculture--and its biggest promoter. If you've heard of the Sonoma County Harvest Fair or the Russian River Valley Winegrowers Association it's largely because of her. The Kundes, along with the Duttons, are the best-known families in Sonoma County grape growing.

John Parducci died a couple days ago. If you've heard of Mendocino wine it's largely because of him. As a young teen he worked his father's vineyards along with his brothers. John would tell stories of selling bootleg wine during Prohibition. He said he once took a solo cross-country train trip sell their juice during Prohibition--at the ripe old age of 14. The family built the first commercial winery in Mendocino County in 1933 just as Prohibition was ending. He spent almost eight decades in the wine business.