Thomas Booth, a wine maker from Paso Robles, CA, crafted his way into pitching, creating and now offering Pepper‘s newest release, The Kona Town Red Blend.
We hear all the time how bands will release their own signature beer or perhaps a strain of marijuana, but seldom do we see bands releasing their own brand of wine. I imagine that takes a special pairing for things to come together for the branding of a wine.
How did it come together for a Pepper wine? Here’s what Kaleo told The Pier: “Last year we had a show at Vina Robles amphitheater. That night, after the show was finished, there was a bottle of wine on the bus with a Kona Town sticker on it. I looked at it not knowing where it came from or how it got there, but remember it looking so cool and I was really confused on who did this… But one thing was for sure, it looked like something I wanted.”
[Related: Pepper Releases Marijuana Strain: Hawaiian Pepper]
Enter Thomas Booth, who has been making wine all over California since graduating from the Viticulture program at Cal Poly, SLO in 2011. Thomas lives near the Vina Robles Amphitheater and decided to go to the show that night with an agenda, pitch them a Pepper labeled wine!
Thomas tells The Pier: “I always wanted to do a private wine label for Pepper! So I customized the original Kona Town art, made a trip to Staples, slapped a label on a clear bottle of Petit Verdot, and made my way to the concert with friends. I wasn’t allowed into the venue with the bottle so I stashed it in the staff parking lot with a glimmer of hope I could catch the band after their set.”
Turns out that Thomas was able to reach Yesod & Bret on Instagram during the show and they actually asked Thomas to leave the prototype with their merch guy. After Pepper’s set, Thomas went back to the parking lot, grabbed the prototype and thanks to the kind understanding of event security, he was able to get it to Pepper’s merch guy. After a couple of days, Thomas followed up with the band and received a call that afternoon from Kaleo expressing interest.
“I took a few of my best barrels samples down to Kaleo’s and we started coming up with some really great blends. A few meetings and a blending trial later, we officially had our product. It was a tough choice but we all agreed that the 50/50 blend was the epitome Kona Town Red Blend.”
The Kona Town Red Blend is a 2016 50/50 blend of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon mixed appellation of Paso Robles and Clarksburg. The Clarkburg fruit is certified Green California Rules which can only be obtained through sustainable environmental friendly practices. The wine was produced through Wine Boss in conjunction with Harmata Family Wines & Pepper. Thomas used three different types of oak: American, French, and American – aged for nearly 18 months in barrel.
The next question we had was how does it taste? Thomas tells The Pier: “It’s rich, earthy & complex. The onset grabs you with these red fruity characters bridged by an imparting of oaky vanilla flavors. It then finishes with this sort of smooth, savory goodness that leaves you wanting more. It’s delectable and energizing. It’s the end of the day fulfillment and aperitif for what the night has in store.”
Kaleo adds: “No matter how much you know or don’t about wine, The Kona Town Red Blend is pure enjoyment. The way I want everyday to taste when that day is done!”
Within three weeks they sold through 25+ cases of wine with folks already requesting a white and rose. “With all the album art Pepper has, along with my inventory, we have the means to do all kinds of labels and wines,” Thomas explains.
With a retail price of $40.00, the wine is exclusively sold through Wine Boss in Paso Robles, CA or via their online store at Winebosslounge.com — As of this writing they are able to ship to 39 states. There’s talks with many of the venues on Pepper’s upcoming summer tour with Slightly Stoopid & Stick Figure in showcasing the wine with VIP tastings so the band and fans can enjoy a glass. Beer X on June 23rd in San Diego is already confirmed.
You can find tour dates below and grab your bottle of The Kona Town Red Blend by clicking HERE!
Watch: Pepper – “Good Thing Going” (ft. Slightly Stoopid)