The Land of Boz
The legendary rocker Scaggs riffs on wine and song.
Boz Scaggs hit the bigtime with the Steve Miller Band, and achieved superstardom with his 1976 album, “Silk Degrees.” Thirty-five years later, he’s still one of rock’s biggest names—and now wine is a cherished side project. The 66-year-old musician’s wine brand, Scaggs Vineyard, specializes in Rhône varieties from the estate vineyard on Mount Veeder in Napa (above). Here are some of his thoughts on his secret identity:
His evolution toward wine appreciation: I grew up in a small town in North Texas and there wasn’t much wine around. But then I lived in France, where it was more available, more of a lifestyle. In San Francisco, maybe 30 years ago, there was an epicurean purveyor of French imports. He had a Gigondas that became a favorite, my house wine. I liked it better than most California wines at that time.
Winegrowing, step one: I’d been living in San Francisco since ’67. I used to ride my motorcycle around Northern California, and Mount Veeder had become part of my ride. I liked the view, the feel of it. I showed the place to my fiancée, now my wife, Dominique. It had a “for sale” sign on it, so we decided to buy it and build a weekend getaway cabin in 1996. It’s now our primary residence.
Winegrowing, step two: We started making a Grenache-Syrah-Mouvèdre in 2002. But I [only] started getting serious about selling them four years ago. Ken [Bernards, the winemaker] put me in touch with a broker. So we’ve been inching to- ward getting into the wine business for years.
The correlation between the creative process in music and in wine: No doubt, there’s always been a link between intoxicants and music! This is an ongoing conversation. My friend, Kermit Lynch, has been working on a book about that. We’ve talked about it over many a glass of wine and roots-oriented records. I’ve certainly come to respect the winemaker’s art. I don’t pretend to know it. But I’ve watched it, smelled it, tasted it, and there’s a distinct art in taking something from the bare roots and making something beautiful.