The intention of Gundlach Bundschu winery holding a year-round concert series must surely be to maximize the feeling of joy, so resolutely is its effect felt—the pure joy of music.
At least this was my own experience going to the joint for the first time a couple of weeks ago to see my beloved Bright Eyes with my special lady friend and our Gen X besties.
Jeff Bundschu, president of the winery’s umbrella company, is the investment tycoon with a taste for the sublime. First the crisp wines of the vineyard surrounding the venue, then the music of late Gen X rebellion. “We started bringing emerging national artists to our vineyard in 2008 because we love [that] music and the people it attracts. Since then, our reputation has grown, and the program organically evolved into a highly curated selection of new and established acts that speak to our soul.”
Speaking about the connection between art, music and wine, perhaps both in terms of craft and consumption, Bundschu said, “Our calling is to create expressive wines that speak to our vineyard and legacy. Our mission is to share them with people to enhance the world around them, sensorially and socially. Live music in a beautiful setting checks both those boxes in a big way.”
That Bright Eyes show checked a lot of my boxes, some I didn’t know I had. The stage set among the hilly platonic ideal of a destination winery with the sun setting behind my little group of mates, the wine flowing, people singing and swaying all around. The amphitheater felt big enough to take the full brunt of the band in the special mental space it was in that particular night—which was just the right one for Conner Oberst and his nine-piece comrades—and intimate enough to yell encouragement down to Connor’s mad-cap, art-boy performance.
Some unnamed musicians may have had a larger tasting flight of wines than most, but in general the venue likes to keep it cool. Bundschu again, “[As with] many sublime things, there is such a thing as too much. We try hard to celebrate staying on the right side of that equation.”
Looking at the calendar of shows, I, for one, am excited about indie stalwarts, Low. Excited to go feel depressed by minimal fuzzy guitar music; it’s kind of my thing. That show will kick off the spring swing of the series on April 1, 2023. Surely not every reader will know these bands, but trust me, throw in Built to Spill on Dec. 3, and this venue’s lineup of shows is a college radio big deal.
“We work with career artists who are nice people and create great, original music. We are genre agnostic, but lean indie rock. Past highlights include Khruangbin, Japanese Breakfast, Johnny Marr, Television, Thundercat and Mudhoney,” said Bundschu.
Gundlach Bundschu, also known as Gunbun, is committed to the indie rock sound. Even its Happy Hour features classic and indie records on the turntable. They spin all winter long every other Thursday from 5 to 7pm.
And if you just can’t get enough, and honestly it could come to that considering the time I had on my first visit, there is the retro ski-themed holiday rumpus on Dec. 10. I don’t know exactly what that means, but I like it. Tickets for $45 include tasting pours of featured wines, homemade chili and a sweet treat. Dance to vibey tunes in retro ski-themed costumes.
Oh and Jeff, I mean Mr. Bundschu, if you are reading this, could you please introduce me to Mudhoney?