Celebrity Wine Lovers
These musicians take what's in the glass seriously.
Matthews, a Farm Aid board member, extends his dedication to family farming and environmental awareness to his own wines. He launched Blenheim Vineyards in 2000, on a massive 17th-century farm in Virginia’s Monticello AVA that he saved from developers. In 2011, he partnered with winemaker Steve Reeder to produce Sonoma’s Dreaming Tree Wines, with the same sustainable approach as Blenheim.
Professed Burgundy lover Mike Diamond, a k a Mike D of The Beastie Boys, wrote a wine blog in 2011–12 on James Suckling’s Web site. He told Esquire that “wine is similar to music in that it’s a purely experiential realm, and a purely subjective practice.” Vocal in his wine and food passions, Diamond continues to collaborate on projects that marry his love of music and vino.
Sharon Van Etten
Indie rocker Sharon Van Etten managed a New Jersey wine store and worked for Astor Wines before moving to New York to pursue music full time. Now sporting a guitar instead of a tastevin, NPR calls her “one of the most beguiling artists we’ve ever heard.” Wine retail’s loss is the music world’s gain.
Thirsty like the wolf? Known for once touring with a full wine cellar, the band requested Sassicaia on its contract rider. Today, keyboardist and wine lover Nick Rhodes still prefers reds (Burgundies, Chiantis and super Tuscans).
A longtime proponent of healthy living, Sting sees his widely acclaimed organic and biodynamic Il Palagio wines—grown and made on his 16th-century, 350-hectare Tuscan estate—as a natural extension. We’re inclined to agree (and we love a guy who sings to his grapes).
Her wine epiphany came when musician Al Stewart brought great Chablis, Bordeaux and Burgundy to a dinner and told her, “Burgundy is for sex, but Bordeaux is for intellect.” Amos became a Chablis convert, and now collects and tours with a cellar.
From Washington State’s Chateau Ste. Michelle to Leeuwin Estate in Western Australia, 15-time platinum jazz diva Krall—like husband Elvis Costello—loves playing at wineries. She unapologetically suggests it’s to indulge their love for great wine at its source.
Maynard James Keenan
A musician truly entrenched in wine, Tool frontman Keenan is a descendant of Northern Italian winemakers and makes wine in his home state of Arizona. Keenan makes his own at Merkin Vineyards and Caduceus Cellars. He’s also a partner in Arizona Stronghold, an 80-acre site dedicated to making affordable wines. It has a tasting room in a produce market Keenan owns.
Merlot freak Fleetwood entered the celebrity wine game with Mick Fleetwood Private Cellar in 2001, and he maintains a large collection at his Maui home. He told Rolling Stone, “While wine is certainly as competitive as music, the boundaries are clearer, and it’s probably a healthier business, ultimately.”
The “Raise Your Glass” singer, a confessed “wine snob,” dreams about owning her own winery. She’s putting in the time, taking online classes, touring wineries and experimenting with tiny batches of her own grapes. It’s likely just a matter of time before dream becomes reality.
In 2000, a Silver Oak Cab seduced Santana into the wine world. It led to collaborations with Mumm Champagne in 2005, and again with last year’s Supernatural Rosé, for which Santana worked closely with Mumm Napa winemaker Ludovic Dervin. Santana has a chain of Mexican restaurants named Maria Maria, where he advocates for wine with Mexican cuisine.
The elegant singer of “Year Of The Cat” and “Time Passages” has been a wine devotee since the late 1960s, when he’d buy ’61 Bordeaux for a few pounds at his neighborhood London shop. He says he’s probably spent half his lifetime’s disposable income on wine. His 2000 album, Down in the Cellar, is dedicated to it, with songs like “The Shiraz Shuffle” and “Waiting For Margaux.”
A knowledgeable fan of powerful Italian wines like Amarone, Barolo and Barbaresco (not to mention Tequila), she sadly can’t enjoy them as much as she’d like due to the tannins’ effect on her voice. So,she leans toward whites and Champagnes for everyday drinking.
No wine poseur, Scaggs started planting Rhône varieties on his Napa property in 1996—first some Syrah, then Grenache, Mourvèdre, Roussanne and Counoise. He made his first wines 14 years ago, and he’s unusually hands-on, having learned from greats like Kermit Lynch and John Olney.