The Gruene Music & Wine Fest began as a one day event in 1986 with the purpose of promoting Texas and Americana music in a fun and relaxed setting while raising funds for the United Way of Comal County. Over the years, it has become a four day celebration not only of Texas and Americana music, but also a celebration of Texas, German and New World wines, specialty beer, food and handcrafted items.
The event continues to grow each year. In recent years, we have been able to expand the “Texas Tastings & Tunes” event on Saturday to include over 40 wine & food producers for tastings and ‘Le Cordon Gruene’ food alley. To further enhance Sunday’s “Texas-Style Musicfest”, we’ve added a Specialty Beer Tasting event, a second stage and the big game on a big screen TV’s. A Craft Market has also been added to both Saturday and Sunday events. In 2010, we added an entirely new “Not From Texas” kickoff event taking place on Thursday and featuring German and New World wines, live music and “Not From Texas” door prizes!
Although the event itself has evolved through the years, our benefiting charity has always included and primarily been the local United Way, a charity whose mission is to improve the quality of life for people in Comal County by generating resources to meet the needs of the community.
In 1986, a mere $450 was raised for United Way, but as the event has grown, so too have the funds given. We now raise over 350 times that amount and have been able to double our funds raised just in the past six years. 2015 marked a record-breaking sum of $159,153.65, making us proud to be considered the highlighted event for the annual United Way campaign in our area. We hope to continue the success of the event by exceeding a $100,000 donation each coming year, and we hope you will be a part of it!
Here are some of the highlighted artists from the past few years: 2016 – Jack Ingram, Charlie & Bruce Robison, Stoney LaRue, Marshall Tucker Band 2015 – Aaron Neville, Pat Green, Marshall Tucker Band, Shinyribs, Jack Ingram 2014 – Robert Earl Keen, Cory Morrow, Uncle Lucius, Jason Boland 2013 – Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, The Mavericks, Charlie Robison, Cory Morrow 2012 – Clint Black, Pat Green, Asleep at the Wheel, Stoney LaRue 2011 – B.B. King, Lucinda Williams, Los Lonely Boys, Pat Green 2010 – Jack Ingram, Tanya Tucker, Randy Rogers/Stoney LaRue 2009 – Pat Green, Joe Ely Reunion Band, Asleep at the Wheel 2008 – The Flatlanders, Leon Russell, Randy Rogers Band
A LITTLE ABOUT GRUENE HISTORIC DISTRICT Arriving in Texas in the mid 1840s, German farmers became the first settlers of what is now known as Gruene Historic District. The Gruene family bought land on the river and planted over 9,000 acres of cotton thus making Gruene a profitable venture. During this profitable time Henry D. Gruene built a mercantile store (now Gruene General Store), a cotton gin powered by the Guadalupe river, (now The Gristmill River Restaurant and Bar), as well as a saloon, Gruene Hall, which became the center of the community’s social life.
Due to the continued prosperity of the area, a new mercantile building (now Gruene Antique Company) sprang up in 1904. However, the death of Henry D. Gruene marked the downfall of Gruene’s development and good fortune. In 1922, the original cotton gin burned and was replaced down the road by a modern electric model (now Adobe Verde). Yet, the economic disasters of the boll weevil and the Depression were too much for the family businesses and they went under, except for Gruene Hall, which never closed…it seems even the hardest times calls for a cold beer and a friendly face.
Today Gruene is once again booming thanks to Pat Molak and Mary Jane Nalley. Pat purchased Gruene Hall in 1975 and began to breathe life back into the district of Gruene. With the help of his friend Mary Jane, he worked to preserve the authentic, turn-of-the-century look and feel of Gruene by purchasing and repairing several of the town’s most notable structures and transforming them into thriving businesses. These developments seemed to rekindle the spark of Gruene, and soon the town’s familiar charm began to shine again.
Even with the remarkable growth of this once sleepy little town, the main focus of Gruene is, and continues to be, bona fide Texas. Everything from the wares they sell to the music they play speaks to Molak and Nalley’s commitment to preserving the authenticity of Gruene and providing its guests with an experience that has the signature seal of the Lone Star State.