Saralee McClelland Kunde dies at 66

Saralee McClelland Kunde, a dairy ranchers' daughter who became a grower of prized wine grapes and an irresistible force for the celebration of Sonoma County agriculture, died Sunday.

Revered as a superstar by others who work to promote the county's grapes, wines, milk and other bounty, and to preserve its ranch- and farmlands, Kunde had been grappling with cancer since the fall of 2012. She was 66.

She championed the Sonoma County Harvest Fair since its inception and was key to the Select Sonoma County marketing campaign and the Russian River Valley Winegrowers.

"She has been such a force. For me, Saralee is an icon," Sonoma County Supervisor Mike McGuire said. "When you think of agriculture in Sonoma County, you think of Saralee. It was in her blood."

Kunde was also a devoted fancier of floppy brimmed garden-party hats. She chose a bright orange one for the 1,100-guest Sonoma County Farm Bureau "Love of the Land" cookout last July that inducted her into the organization's Hall of Fame.

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