Top Backstage Pours

Concert riders are a great way to score choice wine for free. Read what the stars are drinking backstage.

Rock stars’ absurd requests on their riders—the long lists of provisos they require in their dressing room—are legendary. Van Halen, for instance, wanted a bowl of M&Ms, minus the brown ones. But what seems like bizarro eccentricity is often just a litmus test to ensure venue owners are on the ball with details, like, say, the safety of the stage. Still, beyond this size-up of the concert promoter, the rider stands as a great way to score some choice wine for free. Here are a few of our favorites. 

She wants “best-quality” Californian Sauvignon Blanc, but NO CHARDONNAY! (Caps are hers.)

Specifying that “all alcohol be on a rolling cart,” Blondie likes Cakebread Cabernet and Chardonnay, and Bordeaux from Saint-Émilion. 

The Icelandic icon goes French, with Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Veuve Clicquot Champagne.

Has Coldplay been hanging out with Adele? They have but one specification for their “dry white wine” —NOT CHARDONNAY! (The caps are theirs.)

Dionne Warwick
Dionne’s backstage house is not a home without two bottles of Cristal.

In “The Motto,” Drake sings “We got Santa Margherita by the liter,” and he stocks the producer’s Pinot Grigio backstage.

Elton John
Another French fan, Elton prefers “excellent-quality” Bordeaux and Sancerre (with a side of Kaliber nonalcoholic beer).

It pays to be platinum: Mr. Carter gets 2004 Sassicaia and Armand de Brignac “Ace Of Spades” Champagne.

Jimmy Buffett
Mr. “Margaritaville” likes Pouilly-Fuissé and Napa Valley Chardonnay.

Katy Perry
Her “Teenage Dream” comes of age with two bottles of Pinot Grigio and one Argentine Malbec.

Lisa Marie Presley
Lisa Marie likes Stag’s Leap Cab or Merlot, or else St.-Émilion and Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Mariah Carey
Only Opus One for Mimi—and Chardonnay.

The Moody Blues
No Chardonnay snobs (take that, Coldplay and Adele!), they love Chablis, Mondavi Cab and Burgundy—Gevrey-Chambertin, Santenay or Clos de Vougeot.

Pearl Jam
Never without a good bottle onstage, Vedder & Co. ask for Italian reds (Barolo preferred) or Cab and Merlot in the $20–40 range.

The Pretenders
Chrissie Hynde and her band of Brits go local when in the U.S., with American Merlot and Chardonnay, exclusively.

Sammy Hagar
His rider warns, “Mr. Hagar is a wine connoisseur,” and asks for French or Californian Pinot Noir, and Californian or European Pinot Blanc.

These good California boys go for Rombauer Chardonnay and Jordan Cabernet.

Backstage riders based on documents sourced by The Smoking Gun

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