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Wine Talk: John Waite

A journey from pop music to Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Kristiana Kahakauwila
Posted: June 21, 2005

The former lead singer of the Babys and Bad English, John Waite, 49, finds time to savor fine wine while devoting himself to Booze, Babes and Books, his latest tour. Waite's new album, The Hard Way, includes a new rendition of his 1984 chart-topper Missing You, as well as his recent single New York City Girl. One stop on Waite's tour included Union Square Wine & Spirits in New York, where he performed at a tasting of Giorgio Rivetti's La Spinetta wines.

Wine Spectator: How did you get into wine?
John Waite: With a corkscrew. [Laughs.]

WS: Was there anyone who helped educate you about wine?
JW: Steve Gett who used to work at Billboard. We go back about 20 years. He's working now as the wine director [of Union Square Wine & Spirits], but Steve was the talent editor [at Billboard] when we met. Then he turned to wine, as you do … if you work at Billboard.

WS: What do you like to drink?
JW: I like the heavier red wines. I like a lot of French wines, especially Châteauneuf-du-Pape. I used to go out and buy cases of that because I really liked it. Now [Australian] Shiraz has really taken off.

I tend to be obsessive about things that I like a lot. If I buy a pair of boots that I really like, I'll go back and buy four more pairs. It's the same with wine. But I'm hoping to expand my horizons. As I get older, I'm more into it. There's a sense of adventure with [new wines].

WS: When do you drink wine?
JW: Midmorning, noon, midafternoon, early evening and sometimes at night. Just kidding. When I'm on the road, I don't drink until after the show. But California I find a bit boring, so when it gets to be lunchtime, I like to have a glass. California wines aren't boring, though. They're beautiful.

WS: Do you keep much wine at home?
JW: I'm traveling so much that it's hard to keep anything at home. But when I come home, there are a couple bottles of wine around. It's one of those things that you can keep around the house that's nice to come home to.

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