A Night Out with Jimmy Stafford

The guitarist for the rock band Train tells Wine Enthusiast’s Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen about the band’s latest winemaking endeavor and their foray into the food business.


Published:

Who:

Jimmy Stafford, guitarist for the Grammy Award-winning rock band, Train. The band has had a string of hits since it formed 18 years ago, including “Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)”, “Calling All Angels” and “Drive By,” a Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 in May 2012. Stafford and his band mates—lead singer Pat Monahan and drummer Scott Underwood—launched their own wine label in 2009, which is produced at Concannon Vineyards in Livermore, California. Their wine company, Save Me, San Francisco Wine Co., which takes its name from the title track of their album released that same year, produces three wines: Drops of Jupiter (red blend), California 37 (Cabernet Sauvignon) and Calling All Angels (Chardonnay).

Where:

Backstage at New York City’s Central Park Summerstage—an annual outdoor concert series—Underwood and Monahan popped in and out of the band’s trailer. At one point, Underwood personally opened a bottle of the lush, fruit-forward California 37 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, named after the band’s chart-topping latest album, released in April 2012. The name refers to the highway in California that connects Sonoma County and Napa Valley.

Why make wine?

“As ‘Hey, Soul Sister’ took off and the band toured the globe, we thought it would be great to bring a piece of San Francisco to the world,” said Stafford. “Bottles of wine are that perfect representation of San Francisco, so we got that going, with a portion of the proceeds from every bottle going to support Family House, a San Francisco charity that provides housing to families of children with life-threatening illnesses.”

Biggest wine surprise on the road:

The band requests two bottles of California wine and one local wine to have backstage while touring. Stafford was pleased to discover that while performing at a venue in Michigan, the state “makes really good wine!”

What’s up next?

Save Me, San Francisco Chocolate, in partnership with Ghirardelli, (with 100% of the first production proceeds going to Family House) was released on August 24, 2012.  Bars are $4.35 each on www.ghirardelli.com. The band is also looking forward to being featured on the season premier of VH1 Behind the Music, airing on September 16, 2012.

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