Now in stores: vintage Jerry Garcia

LOS ANGELES: The late Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia was many things: musician, artist, writer, composer. Wine connoisseur wasn’t really one of them, even though J Garcia wine, released last year, sold out its first shipment of 22,000 cases in just 30 days, according to the Clos du Bois winery, which is producing it with the approval of Garcia’s estate. A second batch of wines, more than 30,000 cases of merlot, zinfandel and cabernet sauvignon, recently arrived in stores.

“Quite honestly, Jerry was not really a big drinker,” said Grateful Dead biographer and long-time Garcia friend Dennis McNally. “But he did have his occasional glass of wine.” Garcia, who died of a heart attack in 1995, also had a somewhat tenuous relationship with Sonoma County, where the wine is produced. “Sonoma County is where Jerry dropped out of high school,” McNally said with a chuckle. He surfaced fairly soon afterward in a jug band in Palo Alto that eventually changed its name, electrified its acoustic instruments and helped change popular music. Renowned initially for his music, Garcia began to gain attention toward the end of his life for his abstract paintings, and examples are included on each bottle of wine. —AP