Wines that Rock: Rock Stars and their Wine Creations
Music and wine—these two go hand-in-hand in a very intimate way. Just ask the numerous rock icons that have used vino as a metaphor for heartbreak or a vehicle for a rather macabre voodoo storytelling. We’re looking at you, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. Now, who can forget Jeff Buckley’s heart-wrenching rendition of the James Shelton classic, ‘Lilac Wine?’ How about the 1990s Britpop anthem, ‘Champagne Supernova’ by Oasis? Ten years later, and you still have the likes of indie sweetheart, Hozier, singing about heartache and ‘Cherry Wine.’
It’s true that the worlds of vino and rock music are wonderfully intertwined. With such a fine marriage between these two industries, it’s no wonder why so many artists are getting involved in the business of making wine.
Roagna Winery (Sigurd ‘Satyr’ Wongraven of Satyricon)
When you watch Satyr rock out onstage with the rest of the black metal band, Satyricon, it’s a bit hard to imagine him creating premium wines. But that’s exactly what this tattooed Norwegian rock star has been doing since 2003. During a tour in Italy, Wongraven was introduced to Luca Roagna—a vintner from Piedmont. The two immediately struck a deal and formed a business partnership. Roagna would grow and produce wine while Wongraven will do the blending.
To focus on this winemaking adventure, Satyr took a short sabbatical from the music industry in 2010. Along with Roagna, he used the time to craft stellar Piedmont reds. Notable examples include the 2006 Barolo Unione Nero di Wongraven and the 2009 Langhe Rosso Alleanza Nero di Wongraven. Staying true to his heavy metal roots, Satyr’s bottles featured gothic lettering and an outline of the devil set against a black background. It announces to the world that they made these wines.
Wongraven also has a number of other wine projects. He’s collaborated with Baron-Fuente to make 100% organic Champagnes, and Remy and Armin Grassa to create Bordeaux-style whites.
Save Me, San Francisco Wine Co. (Train)
American roots rock band, Train bagged a couple of Grammies for their 2001 hit, ‘Drops of Jupiter,’ but the San Francisco septet has been gaining a different breed of followers for a whole different reason. In 2011, the band partnered up with ACME Wine Movers to create the Save Me, San Francisco Wine Company.
The wine brand is named after the band’s 2009 album. It offers wines bearing Train’s biggest hits. For the reds, you have Drops of Jupiter California Red Wine, Hella Fine Merlot, California 37 Cabernet Sauvignon, and Soul Sister Pinot Noir. As for white wines, the brand offers Bulletproof Picasso Sauvignon Blanc and Calling All Angels Chardonnay. These wines are all produced in a vineyard in Livermore Valley, California.
Besides selling wine, Save Me, San Francisco also offers sweets and chocolates from the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company. And yes, they have that altruistic side to them as well. Portions of the company’s earnings are donated to non-profit organization,Family House of San Francisco. The non-profit provides temporary lodgings for the family members of severely ill children staying in the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.
Blenheim Vineyards (Dave Matthews of the Dave Matthews Band)
On to our second Grammy winner—Dave Matthews of the Dave Matthews Band. Beyond penning and crooning some of the most memorable songs of the 1990s and 2000s, Matthews is also the proud owner of the Blenheim Vineyards in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Before it was a winery, Blenheim was a Virginia farm established in the 1700s. In 1999, Matthews and his family decided to buy the farm as a way of preserving the historical significance of the area. With the help of master artisan, William Johnson, South-African born Matthews and his family established the eco-friendly Blenheim winery. The building’s timber tasting room was constructed using reclaimed wood. Lined with skylights and large windows, the space benefits from natural daytime lighting and passive solar heating.
The vineyard spans 10 acres, with plots of land dedicated to wine cellar favorites like Viognier, Petit Verdot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. Blenheim Vineyard’s current wine lineup include the 2013 Viognier, 2014 Painted White, 2014 Chardonnay, and 2014 Rosé.
Caduceus Cellars/Merkin Vineyards (Maynard James Keenan of Tool)
To round up our list of megastar winemakers, we have three-time Grammy winner, Maynard James Keenan. Keenan is the vocalist of progressive rock giant, Tool, and art rock kingpin, A Perfect Circle. Aside from being a musical colossus, he is also the owner of the esteemed, award-winning Arizonian winery, Caduceus Cellars.
Caduceus Cellars, along with Merkin Vineyards, was established in 2004. When the winery released its first wine, the limited edition Primer Paso, the wine sold out quickly. Critics and consumers also liked the brand’s other wines like Nagual de la Naga, Nagual del Sensi, Nagual del Judith (named after Keenan’s mother), Merkin Vineyards Shinola, Merkin Vineyards Chupacabra, and Sancha. Some of the most well-known and award-winning wines from Caduceus include the 2012 Caduceus Cellars Velvet Slippers Club Primer Paso, the 2013 Caduceus Cellars Dos Ladrones, the 2013 Caduceus Cellars Lei Li, and the 2013 Merkin Vineyards Tarzan.
Aside from being the proprietor of Caduceus Cellars and Merkin Vineyards, Keenan is also a partner for the 80-acre Kansas estate, Stronghold Vineyards.