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From Rock n’Roll to Rock n’Wine

[Above is one of favorite rocker images that I shot of Mark Andes from Heart, while he performed in Portland, Maine in the 80’s.]

I’ve been keeping a file/blog postings of those who are/were in the rock n’roll world, who have now also segued into the wine world.

Why? Because that’s what I lived in my most recent past life. My career was in rock radio. I’ve met a lot of recording artists, including photographing many of them. My amazing portfolio was built because I lived with a backstage pass that allowed me to also have a camera for recording the meetings between the rockers and my (then) celebrity husband Jose.  During those days, Jose Diaz – known simply as “Jose” – was a legend in this genre of radio. This was at WBLM in Portland, Maine. In fact, the entire crew that’s still there, on the air today, Jose hired. Grown men wept when Jose and I left for California. His team loved him so much, but his need for a change was calling, as we segued from rock n’roll to rock n’wine.

As time goes by from my first rock n’wine posting, more musical celebs are entering the wine world; so it’s safe to say that I need to refresh the list once a year, because I continue to find more. If I’ve left anyone out, please take a moment to tell me who’s missing. This is the most comprehensive list that I know about. If there’s more, let’s build it together, for anyone doing research.

I last updated this list in January 2009. The chart shows Nielsen Celebrity brands growing. I don’t have a recent list. If you know of one, please share. (I need to call Nielsen.)

Celebrity wines are an easy marketing draw, because they’ve got a built-in audience, and this segment category is continuing to grow. For the Nielsen ratings, “Celebrity” means anyone from any of the performing arts who has segued from his/her stardom into the world of wine. It’s such an easy thing to do; i.e., market an existing nomenclature. The audience’s adoration is already built-in. People will even pay more, because the name is already associate with established recognition.

The November 10, 2008, issue of People magazine features an article on celebrity wines. People asked Gary Vaynerchuk, to rate the wines of four celebrity winemakers. Since I began an earlier list, I’m inspired to continue my list for the sake of posterity. [Okay, I also love compiling data.]

Last summer at the Pinot on the River festival, I was delighted to meet Les Claypool and his entourage, of Claypool Cellars… Les’s business card simply reads, “Les.” Anyone familiar with Primus (American funk metal band) knows that “Les” means Les Claypool. He sings his heart out, and is now also making great wine under the Claypool Cellars label. His Website claims: Fancy Booze for semi-fancy folks. Les immediately told me, “Life’s too short, you gotta have fun!” This is what I love about rockers… and miss… They live so large and love so hard. Wine happens because it’s there. It’s not the be all to end all, and it’s not for pretension; it’s just to enjoy life a bit more.

So, here’s my list updated, which now also includes Les:

Kermit Lynch (1972): Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant
Robert Foley (1977): Robert Foley Vineyards
Olivia Newton-John (1983): Koala Blue wines
Doobie Brothers (1984): BR Cohn is their manager
Boz Scaggs (1997): Scaggs Vineyard
Mick Fleetwood (2002): Mick Fleetwood, Private Cellar
Bob Dylan (2002): Planet Waves wine
Andy Hill (2002): English sparkling wine Nyetimber, owned by songwriter Hill, who wrote all the hits for Bucks Fizz
Sir Cliff Richard (2004): Vineyard in Portugal, Vida Nova and Wells Wines
Jerry Garcia (2005): J. Garcia wines by Clos du Bois
Mötley Crüe (2005): Vince Vineyards
Madonna (2005): is joint owner of the Ciccone Vineyard and Wineryin Michigan
Mick Hucknall of Simply Red (2005): Vineyard in Sicily, where he produces a Nero d’Avola called Il Cantante
Sting : Vineyard in Tuscany (he makes a Chianti called Il Serrestori, but it is for friends and family only)
Les Claypool of Primus (2007): Claypool Cellars
Lil Jon’s (2008): Little Jonathan Winery.
Maynard James Keenan (2009): Tool and A Perfect Circle hasCaduceus Cellars. Maynard is making his own wine in Cornville, Arizona.

Do you know of anyone else?

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12 Responses to “From Rock n’Roll to Rock n’Wine”

  1. Randy Watson says:

    There’s a whole list of celebs here:


    As a huge fan of Les, I would love to try his juice! I bet it’s some funky stuff! 🙂

  2. 1WineDude says:

    As a bass player, I *gotta* dig Les!

    Never had his wines tho.

  3. Jo says:


    Thanks for the list. I’ll check that one out.

    His Pinot Noir rocks! (Sorry, obvious pun, but so true.)

  4. Jo says:


    You and Paul Gregutt would be the two guys that I’d most suspect would have picked up on this blog posting.

    Paul was in California this past weekend driving around, and on Facebook I wrote some of Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” lyrics, and Paul wrote that I must be a mind reader…

    Well, yeah!

    Les’ Pinot was just so smooth… I’ll send him an Email, so he can follow this thread. You’ll be tasting his wine someday, I just know both of you guys will.

  5. PaulG says:

    Didn’t know we shared a rock radio background. I cut my teeth as music director of WBRU (Brown U. radio) then moved to Seattle where I did shows on KOL-FM, KZAM and a couple of other lesser known stations. Also did some of the first music videos (with local bands back in the early ’80s) for the PBS and ABC affiliates. I still play and perform regularly. Can’t claim rock star creds, but I have written over 500 songs and at least a few of them are pretty decent. As for your music star/winemaker list, note that the guitar player from Queensryche is doing wine up in Walla Walla.

  6. Jo says:

    That’s really cool, Paul. My husband was a DJ at Bowdoin College, segued to WBLM, where he became a music director, then program director. I was hired to keep the public file, which turned into my first PR job. Back stage, I saw the photo ops, and everyone let me take pictures, submitting to Bill Board, Cash Box, Radio & Records, Friday Morning Quarterback, et al. His corporation had stations all over the US, including California. One trip out here, and he was ready to move. He came out here for radio, but I knew I was in Rome and wanted to do as the Romans… Hence… wine.

    Rock was a blast, as we both know, in the 80s. Magical time was had by all.

    Sounds like you’re pretty prolific with your writing. I’d love to see you perform… I’ll let you know when we’re headed to the Seattle area. It has to be a great musical town. I love Seattle… It’s down to earth, and yet got that cosmo edge.

    I’ll add Queensryche to my list, thanks!

  7. Tom says:

    Mark Andes, I remember when he played at our junior high school in the mid 60’s when he was with Spirit. Good times!!!

  8. Jo says:


    My memories of him are all back stage in Portland, Maine. He was always a sincere gentleman. And that 80’s hair… It was the best of the best.

  9. chaney says:

    Hi Jo! You know about Dave Matthew’s label, right?


  10. Andy says:

    As for the celebrity list making wine, Geoff Tate Lead Singer for Queensryche is in collaboration with Three Rivers Winery creating a wine called Insania.

  11. Jo says:

    Thanks, Andy. Between Geoff Tate and Dave Matthews, you, Paul Gregutt, and Chaney have helped to expand this list for next year;s version.

    Thanks, Chaney, too. I didn’t know about the Dave Matthews label. I’ll check it out.

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