Canadian singer Michael Bublé has put a modern twist on classic big band and adult contemporary sounds with his albums It's Time, Call Me Irresponsible and, most recently, Crazy Love. The crooner has won two Grammy Awards and sold 30 million albums worldwide. In 2010, Bublé teamed up with Napa winery Beringer for his current U.S. tour; Bublé promotes the winery and vice versa, but he has parlayed his affiliation into an opportunity to learn more about wine from the inside. His cellar is steadily growing, as is his food-matching aptitude, and he has tried his hand at blending unfinished cuvées at the winery. Bublé recently spoke with Wine Spectator about his grandfather's homemade wine, his wine-themed Saturday Night Live appearance and a favorite wine story.
Wine Spectator: What bottle of wine have you drunk most recently?
Michael Bublé: The last wine I think I had was my grandpa's wine, at a hockey game. I bought a junior team called the Vancouver Giants, and for good luck, my grandpa brings his wine—he makes this beautiful red—to the games. It seems like every time he brings it, we win. Some of the greatest hockey players in the world come. The legends: people like Bobby Orr, Pat Quinn, Gordie Howe. They're all sitting there enjoying Grandpa's wine. He makes it at home. It's actually quite bubbly, but at the same time it's strong. It's kind of like a velvet hammer: It goes down like velvet but it hits you like a hammer. Great for hockey games.
WS: What styles of wine do you like?
MB: It depends on what I'm doing. If it's just having a glass of wine that's one thing, but if I'm going to sit and have some light dinner, it's going to be Sauvignon Blanc. If I'm going to have something heavier, a steak or something, maybe I'll go with a Cabernet.
WS: You've got family and personal connections to Italy, Argentina, Canada. Do you especially like to drink wines from these countries?
MB: I enjoy nice Argentine wines; I'm there a lot. But my fiancée [now wife, Luisana Lopilato], she's very pushy about the Argentine wines. So I'll order a [California] wine and she'll be saying, "No, I want an Argentine wine. It's better in Argentina." I mean, there are beautiful wines. Obviously, Canada also has great wines.
WS: Do you see a kinship between wine and music?
MB: I do. When you think about some of these great songs and a lot of the history of the music, you're talking about great music and romance and wine, and I think those things connect pretty beautifully. One of my favorite things was going down to the Hollywood Bowl and watching Tony Bennett and bringing a date and having a beautiful bottle of wine and some snacks. That's got to be one of the most romantic things you can do.
WS: You were on Saturday Night Live last year with Jon Hamm [from Mad Men] in the "Hamm & Bublé" skit, about a pork and Champagne restaurant. What was it like to film that sketch?
MB: I was really proud to do the show. I've been a big fan of it for a long time. They told me they wanted to do a skit, but I could tell there was fear, because a lot of the time I think singers can probably be pretty poor actors. So I walked in and I met [head writer] Seth Meyers, and we sat and read the script for "Hamm & Bublé: The pork and Champagne restaurant." And I laughed through the whole thing. Seth was telling me that he was with his girlfriend and they were driving, and he said, "You know what would be funny? Jon Hamm and Bublé, like ham and Champagne." [Producer] Lorne [Michaels] just looked at me and said, "All right kid, just take your time, go out there and have fun."
WS: Any favorite wine-related stories to tell?
MB: Once I went to the Mondavis' to meet them with a friend of mine, [record producer] David Foster. And they were very nice. We spent the night there, and as the night got later it was people like Wayne Gretzky and [hockey player] Russ Courtnall. They brought a dessert wine, some of their reserve wine, and I'm guessing that this was a very expensive wine they had saved for special occasions. At the time I think I was about 23 years old. I think I shot it like it was tequila. The looks on the faces of people around me who were sipping and savoring every single last taste that was dripping past their tongue down their tonsils as I went, "Gulp," and said something like, "That's really sweet."