Steven Page, 35, is one of the founding members of Canadian rock band Barenaked Ladies. Formed in 1988, the band has since sold 10 million records worldwide (and had a New York Lottery ad centered around one of its songs). The most recent album, Everything to Everyone, continues Barenaked Ladies' 17-year tradition of lyrical wit set to inventive, catchy music. Just as Page compulsively collected records as a kid, he has developed a similar interest in wines--to the point that he has run out of room in his cellar. A fan of wines from Champagne to California, Page even dreams of someday planting his own vines and making wine, though he's quick to admit that that's just a fantasy. Then again, so was becoming a rock star.
Wine Spectator: When did you first get interested in wine?
Steven Page: There was always wine around when I was growing up. Most of it was Manischewitz, unfortunately, but my parents were in a wine-tasting group, so there was always a sense that wine was something to be explored. In '93, my then wife-to-be, now wife, [Carolyn], and I went through the Southern Rhône. I saw how wine was so intrinsic to place in France.
WS: Do you visit wineries when you're on tour?
SP: We've been on the road and been able to take some great tours around wine regions. Especially in Canada. I'm pretty passionate about the potential of Niagara in Ontario for some of their wines, especially for some of their amazing Rieslings.
WS: What are some of your best discoveries?
SP: When we were recording Everything to Everyone, our last album, in 2003, I realized that a lot of the wines I was enjoying were all coming from the same vineyard, but different producers. It was Bien Nacido in Santa Maria. It turned out there were some fans in the area, and the people at Bien Nacido were amazing hosts and put on this great barbecue for me with about 20 different winemakers from the area. So I got to taste so many of the great Pinots and Syrahs of the Central Coast.
WS: How many bottles do you have in your collection?
SP: I probably have about 1,200 right now. I've done that thing that my wife is dreading, probably quite correctly--I've now rented a space outside the house, too. Once you've made that step, then there's kind of no end to the collecting, is there? When I was a kid, I'd get in trouble for spending all my money on records, so I solved that by buying cassettes, because I could at least slip them inside my coat pocket. It's kind of the same thing with wine now. It's, "Honey, what'd you bring home?" "Oh, nothing."
WS: If you had a million dollars, you'd buy … what kind of wine?
SP: I would probably buy cases of Salon Champagne, Sine Qua Non and [Beaucastel's] Hommage à Jacques Perrin.
WS: Have you ever thought about making your own wine?
SP: I have a farm outside [Toronto], and of course, how do you look at a big piece of land and not imagine rows of vines? I certainly fantasize about it. I've hosted winemakers' events, and I say, "I'm sure a lot of you play air guitar in the mirror, but when I stand in front of the mirror in the morning, I play air malolactic fermentation instead." Shows how much of a fanatic I am. I actually used to do Billy Idol faces in the mirror when I was a kid. Now instead of doing the fist-pumping, I'm punching down the cap.
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