The legendary rocker Scaggs riffs on wine and songSteve Heimoff / Wine Enthusiast MagazineJul 12, 2011
Boz Scaggs hit the big-time with the Steve Miller Band, and achieved super-stardom 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.
Wine growing, 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.
Wine growing, 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.