Wines That Rock, a partnership between rock business managers RZO and the Mendocino Wine Company, has launched its first three rock'n'roll varietals: Forty Licks Merlot, Woodstock Chardonnay and The Dark Side of the Moon Cabernet Sauvignon.
Wines That Rock Co-founders Ron Roy and Howard Jackowitz originally partnered with RZO and David Bowie in 1997 to create UltraStar Entertainment, the world's largest online fan club company pioneering fan club ticketing and online artists community. UltraStar's clients ranged from the New York Yankees to AC/DC, the Police and the Who. RZO are business managers to such rock stars as the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Sting and U2, and were co-producers of the Police reunion tour.
The Wines That Rock deal is a licensing agreement between the winery and the artist. "Our job is to help artists get their 'brand' in front of people," says RZO partner Bill Zysblat, who adds that his own enjoyment of wine "is surpassed only by my inability to navigate a wine store."
Zysblat points out that iconic album covers are among the most recognizable brands anywhere. "That only left finding a great tasting wine at an affordable price, not an impossible task, but once you add the fact that we had to be environmentally responsible, cost became an issue," he explains.
"The Mendocino Wine Company was able to solve that problem for us. Clearly the greenest winery in the U.S., we asked them if they could create wines that captured the spirit of the underlying recording while, at the same time, creating something not too complex and very drinkable. When the first lab samples came in, we actually couldn't believe it. The wine wasn't just great tasting, reasonably priced wine, it was just great tasting wine."
But the main reason RZO got involved because "was we thought it would be just plain fun," Zysblat says. "And it's been as much fun as producing a major tour."
The Mendocino Wine Co. is known for following environmentally friendly production standards through sustainable farming, 100% green solar and wind power, eco friendly packaging, and carbon neutrality. Mendocino Wine Co. winemaker Mark Beaman says each wine "truly captures the essence of an album.
The Woodstock Chardonnay was produced to express the mixture of revolution and the vitality of Woodstock, the Forty Licks Merlot needed to be timeless with a bit of spunk, and the Dark Side of the Moon Cabernet Sauvignon was created to bottle up the soft, haunting complexity of the album."
All three wines were previewed backstage at the VIP & Artists lounges during the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concerts on Oct. 28-29 in New York.
Starting at around $50 for a three-pack ($16.99 per bottle), six-packs and cases are also available with discounts up to 15%, and are currently available to the public exclusively at wines-that-rock.com. The wines will be available at retail worldwide starting in 2010. Additional classic pairings of great tasting wines and legendary rock albums and artwork will be available in the comings months.