Top 10 rockstar ‘winemakers’
With pots of cash and a taste for the finer things in life, it’s perhaps no surprise that many of the world’s global superstars eventually turn their attention to wine.
Dozens of musicians have lent their name to a number of wines over the years, with varying levels of involvement in their production and commercial success.
But while some big names may spend little time monitoring the harvest, many of our rockstar winemakers are not only hands on in the winemaking process, but have won awards for their wines on the competition circuit.
Take the ever-charming Cliff Richard, who for decades has been toiling away on his Adega do Cantor winery in Portugal.
According to the estate’s staff Cliff is often seen “getting his hands dirty”, during the harvest.
Whatever a wine’s commercial success, it’s clear the lure of wine is strong within the world of rock, as this list proves.
Scroll through to see which musicians are known for rocking the vineyard…
Mick Fleetwood – Feetwood Mac
Better known as the drummer and namesake of legendary rock band Fleetwood Mac, Mick Fleetwood also maintains an interest in wine having founded the Mick Fleetwood Private Cellar.
Located in Lake County in California, and managed in collaboration with Langtry Estate and Vineyards, Mick is not directly involved in the winemaking process, but maintains a watchful eye on the final product, with all the wines said to be crafted to his own tastes.
Maynard James Keenan – Tool and A Perfect Circle
Maynard James Keenan is perhaps better known as the hard-rocking frontman of Tool and A Perfect Circle, but away from the stage the singer leads a double life as a winemaker.
Having moved to Arizona in 1995, Maynard set about setting up his own vineyard in the sizzling US state, eventually opening The Caduceus Cellars and Tasting Room in Jerome in 2009. On his decision to set up in the state, Keenan said: “My art and music has been described as ‘thick, dense, rich complex, engaging, emotional, and spiritual,’ by those who are fans, and an ‘acquired taste’ for those kind others who are not.”
“Surely these qualities will be reflected in the wine that Arizona will present to us,” he added.
The first of the singer’s Caduceus wines were released in 2004.
Mick Hucknall – Simply Red
Mick Hucknall, the lead singer of British rock band Simply Red, began his adventure into the world of winemaking in 2000 when he purchased an 18th century former mill on the Italian isle of Sicily.
His Il Cantante winery, which translates as the Singer, produces three wines across three vineyards; two reds using primarily the Nero d’Avola and Nerello Mascalese, and a white made from Carricante, Grecanico and Minnella grapes, in the foothills of the Mount Etna volcano. Earlier this year the property was put up for sale by the singer with an asking price of €650,000 (£520,000).
The 54-year-old British musician is best known for hits including ‘Money’s Too Tight to Mention’, ‘Holding Back the Years’ and ‘Something’s Got Me Started’.
Lil Jon – Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz
Rapper and producer Lil’ Jon, may not be the most likely of winemakers, but that hasn’t stopped this music mogul from dipping his toe into the world of wine.
Produced in partnership with winemaker Alison Crowe, Little Jonathan’s Wines comprised a limited run of Californian Chardonnay and Merlot wines under the rapper’s name with its Central Coast Chardonnay winning a silver medal at the LA International Wine & Spirits Competition.
Before venturing into the wine market, Lil’ Jon released Crunk!!!, an energy drink named after the rap style on which he has built his musical career. Lil Jon has not released an album since 2010 having released Crunk Rock as a solo artists. Prior to that he had enjoyed success with Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz, a group he founded in 1997.
Dave Matthews – Dave Matthews Band
In 1999 Dave Matthews, of the rock outfit Dave Matthews Band, bought 10 acres of land in Virginia, known as Blenheim Farm. It was officially founded in 2000 after it was restored and raised to organic standards. Today, its day to day management is undertaken by Matthew’s brother, Peter, who has an education in viticulture, but Matthews remains the owner of the vineyard and winery.
It currently produces around 5,500 cases of wine per year, including its signature Petit Verdot variety, with many of its labels featuring unique designs hand drawn by Matthews.
In 2011, Matthews collaborated with winemaker Steve Reeder to created a range of wines called The Dreaming Tree Wines.
British pop legend Cliff Richard has his own range of Vida Nova wines produced at his Adega do Cantor winery in Portugal from vines planted on land belonging to his property, Quinta do Miradouro.
According to Adega do Cantor’s (which translates as winery of the singer) website: “Sir Cliff is very much involved in producing the wine. When in Portugal he is often seen getting his hands dirty in the vineyard or indeed his feet dirty in the winery.”
The Vida Nova wine range includes a number of red and rosé wines, as well as a Portuguese sparkler.
Dave Mustaine – Megadeth
This year a Californian Cabernet released by the frontman of American thrash metal group Megadeth, Dave Mustaine, sold out within 72 hours of release.
The wine was the result of a collaboration between Mustaine and the Fallbrook Winery in San Diego County, where Mustaine has a house with his wife Pam Casselberry. Both Dave and Pam were said to be involved in picking the blend, which commemorates Mustaine’s forthcoming Symphony Interrupted show with the San Diego Symphony Orchestra on 12 April. The wine, Mustaine Vineyards Symphony Interrupted Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, priced as US$40 a bottle, sold its entire production of 59 cases in three days.
Before forming Megadeth in 1983, Dave Mustaine was the lead guitarist of heavy metal group Metallica.
Lemmy Kilmister – Motörhead
Last year British heavy metal group Motörhead released a bag-in-box Shiraz modelled to look like a guitar amplifier, following on from the release of its bottled version in 2012.
Motörhead’s Sacrifice Shiraz was the first bag-in-box wine to be produced by a band and was designed specifically to appeal to the BIB-friendly Swedish market, where around 60% of wine consumed is from bag-in-box packaging. The south eastern Australian wine is “full bodied” and “spicy” with “aromas of blackberry and black currant,” according to its winemakers.
The band have also lent their name to a rosé and a vodka and in 2012 released the 4.7% “Bastards Lager”, brewed in Sweden by Krönleins, named after one of its albums.
In 2011 rock behemoths AC/DC released a range of wines in partnership Australia’s Warburn Estate creatively named Back in Black Shiraz, Highway to Hell Cabernet Sauvignon, Hells Bells Sauvignon Blanc, and You Shook Me All Night Long Moscato, after just some of the band’s hits.
The range was expanded to the US in 2012 after more than 50,000 cases were sold in Australia, 6,000 alone in its first week.
In 2013, the band released a limited edition, “super-premium”, 2010 Barossa Valley Shiraz onto the market housed in a collector’s gift box with the aim of appealing to fans of the band. Its black glass bottle is emblazoned with the band’s logo and finished with a pewter neck collar.
Gordon Sumner – The Police/Sting
Gordon Sumner, better known across the world as Sting, has for the past 15 years been producing wines from his Tenuta il Palagio winery in Tuscany, which he owns with his wife Trudie Styler.
The run-down 350-hectare estate was purchased by the couple in 1999 who have been restoring it to its former glory ever since. The entire estate is now run bio-dynamically with winemaking duties overseen by Paolo Caciorgna.
The couple currently produce three Tuscan reds, Sister Moon, named after Sting’s song, When we Dance, a Chianti, and Casino delle vie, whose name translates as “little house by the roads”.