The Strings & The Grapes
We already had the chance of talking about the connection between wine and the artistic world, whether that being literature, cinema or music. We are not going to deny we have a soft spot for these fascinating links, with music being perhaps one of our favourites.
Few months ago we went through song lyrics to highlight who and how has celebrated the grape juice in their songs. This time we went the extra mile to look for a more serious commitment, reading about those musicians so passionate about wine to devote themselves to viticulture and to start their own winemaking ventures.
And although few of the names we’ll be mentioning are widely recognised as connoisseurs within the industry, we are pretty sure some of the names might sound like a surprise…
Set above the picturesque town of Figline Valdarno in the south of Florence countryside, Tenuta il Palagio is the famous Italian residence of Sting. Leader and founder of the band The Police until 1984 and solo-artist from 1985, his love for wine is actually breath-taking. In fact, at his estate in Tuscany, Sting produces several farming products and, among them, four different wines from Sangiovese: two are blended with indigenous grapes as per Chianti tradition, while the other two are blended with Bordeaux’ varieties as per SuperTuscans‘ approach.
Named after the band’s fifth album and developed in collaboration with Concannon Vineyard, Save Me, San Francisco Wine Company is the viticultural project of pop band Train. In their prime they used to sing about “Drops of Jupiter”, later on they started focusing on different kind of drops. Still, a California red wine from their winery is named after the song itself. Save Me, San Francisco Wine Co. also produce a Sauvignon Blanc, a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Chardonnay, a Merlot and a Pinot Noir, as well as a California Rose.
The lead vocalist, songwriter and guitarist of the Dave Matthews Band purchased Blenheim Farm, a ten acres land in the Albemarle County of Virginia, to preserve its historical significance in 1998. After planting grapes in the estate, in 2000 he founded Blenheim Vineyards, currently producing about 6,000 cases of wine per year. In 2011, Dave Matthews collaborated with Sonoma County winemaker Sean McKenzie in a project called “Dreaming Tree Wines”: the project is also known for using wine bottles weighing half than average, with sustainably grown cork, and recycled paper for the labels.
Also known as Satyr, Sigurd Wongraven is the vocalist, lead and rhythm guitarist, bassist, and keyboardist for the Norwegian black metal band Satyricon. A devoted winemaker, his Morgenstern Riesling is a top seller in Norway and Sigurd confessed his devotion for that specific grape due to its limitless versatility. Among German productions, Sigurd is also able to label his own wines from Champagne and Piedmont through partner vineyards such as Luca Roagna and Baron-Fuenté.
Lead singer and co-founder of the heavy metal band Mötley Crüe, Vince Neil started his own wine venture in the early 2000s. The project kicked off with a 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley and a 2003 Chardonnay from Sonoma County. To start the project, Neil partnered with the notable wine & spirits veteran Russ Dale.
And we close with a proper guitar hero. Megadeth co-founder, lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter, but also original lead guitarist of another little band called Metallica, Dave Mustaine is also known for producing wine. Despite he’s not involved hands-on in viticulture and winemaking, he does select the blends and name the wines. “We want to do things that are stuff that I like,” he declared. “If I don’t like the way something tastes, I won’t put my name on it.”
We are genuinely not sure about the pattern behind famous musician turning winemakers, but we are not going to be cynical and think that “labels” is all that music and wine have in common, On the contrary, we like to think about concept such as “passion”, “memories” or “emotions”, so often in the words of songwriters, winemakers and, more in general, artists.