Do you see a connection between music and winemaking?
Making music and winemaking are really quite different processes but I suppose that, at a point, both are dependent on craftsmanship. In music, after the initial inspiration occurs, the rest of a piece depends on your abilities and experience as a craftsman and this is largely what takes place in order for a winemaker to maximize what has grown in his vineyard.
When did you start getting interested in wine in a serious way?
During the late ’70s and early ’80s, while on tour, we would receive gifts from concert promoters of fine wine. Mostly Bordeaux, as our guitarist Alex Lifeson had a keen interest in wine and had a modest collection. I kept my share of the bottles in a wine fridge for years and then in the late ’80s I decided to do an inventory. I was amazed at what I was tasting and it quickly turned into an obsession.
Any specific styles or producers you are currently excited about?
I’m mostly a fan of Old World wines. In particular, French wines—Burgundy, Rhône, Loire and Champagne. I have become a true geek for Burgundy reds. I did spend some time in New Zealand recently and found some very delicious Pinot Noir being made there.
Do you have a desert island bottle?
Ha... well I’d rather have them in a good restaurant than a desert island. A short dream list would be a 1978 Musigny by Comte de Vogüé, a 1993 Échezeaux by Henri Jayer, a 1990 La Tache by DRC or a 1978 Château Rayas Châteauneuf-du-Pape. I could go on but I’d be pretty darn happy with any of them.