Photo courtesy The-Lane-Team via Flickr/CC
Maynard James Keenan
Better known for his roles in Tool and A Perfect Circle, musician-turned-winemaker Maynard James Keenan is devoted to advancing northern Arizona as a quality wine-producing area (most vineyards are planted in southeastern Arizona, where the states only AVA, Sonoita, is located). Descended from northern Italian winemakers, Keenan took his idea of growing grapes in Arizona and ran with it. The winery, Caduceus, is named after an ancient symbol for concert, and grapes are grown at Merkin Vineyards, also owned by Keenan.
British musician and member of Simply Red founded Il Cantante di Mick Hucknall in Sicily in 2001. Located on the slopes of the legendary Mt. Etna, the vineyards are comprised of traditional indigenous Sicilian varietals Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio. Il Cantante uses the knowledge and know-how of local vintners to create a Nero d'Avola, an Etna Rosso, and a white blend.
Blenheim Vineyards, located just outside of Charlottesville, Virginia-home of Thomas Jefferson-is located in the Monticello AVA. Situated at the foothills of Carter's Mountain, in southern Albemarle County, the vineyards are planted with five European varietals: Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Viognier and Cabernet Franc. The oldest vines are just twelve years old, around the same time construction on the winery was completed. Dave Matthews, Blenheim's owner, also helped design the eco-friendly winery and tasting room. For more information, visit www.blenheimvineyards.com.
The motto "Fancy Booze for Semi-Fancy Folks‚" sums up the ethos of the Primus-vocalist Les Claypool's eponymous Claypool Cellars. Longtime Sonoma County resident, Claypool founded his winery in 2007 after a home winemaking experiment expanded into a four-ton operation. Located in the Russian River Valley, Claypool Cellars manages to maintain a sense of humor in an area known for serious wine with names like Purple Pachyderm, a Pinot Noir, and Pink Platypus, a Pinot Noir Rosé.
A former member of The Steve Miller Band and solo-artist, Boz Scaggs is now a member of the California winemaking community. Along with his wife, Dominique, Boz grows and makes Rhône-style wines in Napa Valley. Committed to sustainable techniques, the couple follows the philosophy that "minimal intervention in winemaking allows for maximum expression of terroir." The vineyards and orchards on the estate, located at the top of the Mt. Veeder AVA in the Mayacamas Ridge, are certified organic. For more information, visit www.scaggsvineyard.com.
Don't stop believin' that this longtime Journey keyboardist is also the owner of Finale Wines, based in Healdsburg, California. After stopping in at De La Montanya winery, Cain struck up a friendship with the owner, Dennis de la Montanya. In 2006, the two decided to collaborate on wines to benefit Bay Area charities and after a few years, the two partnered, along with another friend, to create Finale wines. As co-vintner and consultant, Cain takes an active role in the process of winemaking at Finale.
Interesting sidenote: De La Montanya collaborated with hair-metal band Whitesnake for the 2008 Whitesnake Zinfandel.