The Grateful Dead may have performed their "final" shows last summer with five Fare Thee Well concerts, but the band's 50th anniversary party is still going strong. Singer/guitarist Bob Weir and drummers Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart are touring with John Mayer as Dead & Co., there's an oral history book about the band, and now there's a new Dead-branded red wine.
Maxim got a sneak peek at the second of two limited-edition reds commemorating The Dead's 50th. The 2012 Grateful Dead Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Second Edition bottle features a full-wrap version of the Dancing Bears logo, and was crafted by California's Mendocino Wine Company under the groovy guidance of Grateful Dead archivist David Lemieux.
The latest Deadhead red, available through Wines That Rock, is made of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot, and 2% Syrah aged in a mixture of new American oak and neutral barrels. Wines That Rock co-founder Howard Jackowitz says the wine was inspired by two vintage Dead jams: “Eyes of the World” (performed on 9/7/73) and “Dark Star” (performed 2/13/70).
"We've been working with The Dead for years and have created several vintages for them," Jackowitz says. "For the bands 50th, we wanted to craft something very special. We used small-lot grapes and created a deluxe limited edition—there's only 14 barrels worth of wine."
"The first 50th anniversary edition used the classic skull and roses design," Jackowitz added. "The second edition uses The Dancing Bears—both iconic Dead images. Internally at Wines That Rock, we had arguments as to which design we should use. In the end, we did both."
Perhaps the most famous wine-referencing Dead song is "Jack Straw", a live favorite that opens with the line: "We can share the women/We can share the wine." Now devoted Deadheads can uncork actual Dead-branded vino, and share it like many a joint passed around at Dead gigs past.