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Rockin' the Vines

Huichica Fest kicks off summer's best festivals

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Jeff Bundschu isn't your typical estate winery owner. His laid-back approach is infused with a sweet California drawl that's more surfer than Sonoma vintner.

His father, Jim Bundschu, must have instilled his down-to-earth nature long ago. From pranks on the Napa Valley Wine Train to kidnapping Virgin Airlines billionaire Richard Branson to a property shed filled with naked ladies crushing grapes, the Gundlach Bundschu Winery legacy has revolved around charming campaigns of merriment.

This year's Huichica Music Festival might be less prank-ridden but it's just as entertaining. The venue's western-facing amphitheater and grassy knolls are prime for blankets and umbrellas, and the weekend features a lineup including Beachwood Sparks (above), Sonny & the Sunsets, Little Wings, Poor Moon, Andy Cabic and others.

Bundschu is co-producing the third annual fest with Eric Johnson, lead singer of the Fruit Bats and former Shins guitarist, and Dave Burton, tour manager for bands like Death Cab for Cutie and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. When it comes to curating a lineup of unfamiliar yet exceptional indie and folk-rock musicians, these guys know the deal. "This is a niche of bands that are intellectual with very approachable music," says Bundschu. "It sounds a lot like the music made 20, 30 years ago. There's no reason that a music lover nurtured on Fleetwood Mac or Supertramp wouldn't love this stuff."

Get Huichica'd on Saturday, June 2, at Gundlach Bundschu Winery, 2000 Denmark St., Sonoma. Noon. $75. Pre-fest dinner and concert Friday, June 1 (6pm; $120). 707.938.5277.—Jacquelynne Ocaña

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