Outside Lands San Francisco: wine + music pairing guide

Outside Lands Festival wine and music pairing guide to help you get the most out of the 120 wines being uncorked this weekend. Photo: Wine Lands Image: Cameron Neilson

SAN FRANCISCO, August 7, 2012Outside Lands this year is stacked with both quality wines and music lineups.  Music and wine were just meant for each other. You can speak about them both in similar language: smooth, bubbly, dry, fruity, jammy, bold, earthy and sultry.  And just as the number of bands and artists to listen to is seemingly endless, so is your choice in wine at Wine Lands this year.    

The music line-up for Outside Lands this year is packed with talent and musical variety. The wine line-up is even more impressive.  A total of 49 wineries will be uncorking 120 wines.  This is truly an epic wine tasting opportunity. These 120 wines can be found under an ornate tent in the Hellman Hollow Field.  Outside Lands wants to transport you to a wine-inspired setting complete with grapevines, charming chandeliers, elaborate draped ceilings, and oversized wine barrels with benches inside them for sitting and sipping wine.  Just outside the Wine Lands tent there will be a courtyard with picnic tables and wine barrels serving as table tops.  Here they will feature wines on tap via Free Flow Wines.  If you want to drink wine, these are the two main places to be: the main Wine Lands tent and accompanying courtyard.

Outside Lands Wine Lands image: Cameron Neilson


Northern California wines and wine regions are well represented, with wines from Caymus, Gloria Ferrer, Ridge, J Lohr, Turley, Robert Sinskey, Simi, Darcie Kent, Long Meadow Ranch, Kermit Lynch and Preston.  This is a magnificent opportunity for you to have a taste of Northern California right here in San Francisco.  Now comes the hard part: deciding which wine to drink with which band.  Here is some advice on the best music and wine pairings at Outside Lands.


Wine + Music Pairing Suggestions:

Foo Fighters: the Foos have an amazing, non-stop energy that completely mesmerizes you from the moment they take the stage. They are superbly creative, hyper-talented, bold, funny and everything a rock band should be.  This might be the best show you see at Outside Lands this year.  And you need a wine for the occasion.  Wine pairing suggestion: 2010 Turley “Cederman” Zinfandel, Howell Mountain.  This wine is both bold and well refined with a finish that doesn’t quit.  Much like Dave Grohl himself.  Just don’t chew gum (like Grohl does on stage) when you drink it.   

Neil Young: some might argue that you can’t drink wine with Neil Young, but I disagree and I think Mr. Young would as well.  Neil is a favorite musician of Chuck Wagner, Caymus’ owner and winemaker, and he was influential to Chuck at the time Caymus was founded in 1972, when Chuck was the ripe old age of 19.  Wine pairing suggestion: 2010 Caymus Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, a classic since 1972, much like Neil himself.

Jack White: Jack has been a bit of a reserved mystery since he set foot on the music scene over 15 years ago.  This prolific artist has been captivating audiences through his years with the White Stripes, The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather, as a solo artist, and has broken barriers by teaming up with Loretta Lynn.  Jack needs a wine as complex and intriguing as he is.  Wine pairing suggestion:  2011 Conundrum Proprietary California White Blend.  This wine is full of flavor, mystery and complex flavor.  Jack would love it. 

Outside Lands Wine Lands. Image: Cameron Neilson


Metallica: this heavy metal innovator has been breaking down barriers since 1981.  There are many references to prison, anger, and escaping in Metallica’s work: from “And Justice For All” to their video for “St. Anger” that was shot at San Quentin California State Prison, to the song lyrics from “One.”  Yes, the references are seemingly endless.  This band needs a wine that really speaks to them like their music.  Wine pairing suggestion: 2010 The Prisoner, Napa Valley Red Wine. This wine is as innovative as Metallica, blending big and bold grapes into the perfect harmony.

Stevie Wonder: this bright and sparkling Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has been in the biz since the age of 13, with fresh and young hits in the ‘60s to funkier faves like Superstition in the ‘70s. This lifetime achiever warrants a wine that is equal in appeal, finesse and energy.  Wine pairing suggestion: Gloria Ferrer Sparkling Brut or Blanc de Noirs.  Both of these sparkling wines have aromas that pull you into the glass while being full of character and bright energy.  They are classic and timeless to the last drop.  Perhaps Gloria Ferrer should consider making a label just for Stevie, they’re perfect for each other.

Norah Jones: this soulful singer/songwriter is as smooth and mellow as they come.  From the dark areas of despair and heartbreak to her more upbeat tempo songs, all seem to pull you in and instantly you are in her world.  Norah deserves a wine that is as honest, pure and smooth as she is.  Wine pairing suggestion: 2009 Robert Sinskey Pinot Noir, Los Carneros. This wine is open, honest, beautiful and as silky-smooth as they come.  Perhaps wait for a moment when all you hear is Norah acapella, take a sip and hold your breath.  That would be perfection. 

Skrillex:  to quote the 24-year old talent, “I have the most fun when I let my inhibitions check out. Right at that point things just start to happen.” This calls for an uninhibited, bold wine.  Wine pairing suggestion: 2010 Turley “Juvenile” Zinfandel, California.  This wine is high-toned and racy, showcasing the best of the young fruit with great power and potential.  Just like Skrillex.


Outside Lands Wine Lands. Image: Cameron Neilson

Additional Wine and Music Pairing Suggestions:

Alabama Shakes: 2011 Robert Sinskey Abraxas, Vin de Terrior

Beck: 2011 Turley “El Porron” Cinsault, Lodi

Bloc Party: 2011 Meiomi by Belle Glos Pinot Noir

Dirty Dozen Brass Band:  J. Lohr Vineyards and Wine

The Kills: Ridge Vineyards and/or Preston of Dry Creek

Regina Spektor: 2010 Darcie Kent Vineyards Chardonnay, West Pinnacles

Tennis:  Gloria Ferrer Va de VI and/or Sonoma Brut

The Walkmen:  Kermit Lynch

Check out the complete wine line-up list.


General Advice:

-  Take your time tasting, there is no need to rush (especially if you have a 3 day pass)

-  Drink plenty of water

-  Use the spit buckets, that’s what they are there for, the winemakers won’t be offended

Download the free Outside Lands mobile app: create a line-up, add filters to your photos, create alerts and rate the menu items.   This is a great way to keep track of the wines and foods you loved so you can purchase later and brag to your friends.

-  Don’t forget to eat! Take advantage of the Taste of the Bay Area which features 55 Bay Area restaurants, including Outside Lambs and Chocolands

-  Dress in layers, the San Francisco fog has been out with a vengeance the past few weeks.  It will be better to have too many layers than too few.

- Take public transportation, parking will be a nightmare!

Last checked, tickets were sold out! Hopefully you’ve already attained yours.  If not, scour Craigslist, StubHub and beg friends.  Good luck!


Columnist Sherrie Perkovich offers an insider’s perspective of the very best San Francisco has to offer. Join her weekly to experience the best the City by the Bay has to offer - from parties to parks and everything in between. 

Sherrie is a San Francisco local that fancies herself an extroverted fine dining, wine drinking, know-it-all.  If it’s happening in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sherrie is in on it.  Follow her column, for the widest range of Out and About San Francisco treats.  

Read more of Sherrie’s work at Out And About San Francisco in the Communities at the Washington Times.  Follow Out and About on Twitter and on Facebook for even more inside scoop.  Follow her on Pinterest to follow the visual story.

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Sherrie Perkovich

Sherrie is a perky, music and wine-loving, Northern California local that seeks out and spreads the word about San Francisco experiences as well as unforgettable wine-related travel experiences.  She is CMO of The Grape Hunter USA, where they focus on helping artisan wineries and developing unique wine travel for consumers. Follow her on Twitter @BigNoseWino

Sherrie is a San Francisco local that fancies herself an extroverted fine dining, wine drinking, know-it-all.  If it’s happening near SF, Sherrie is in on it.  Follow her columns,  for the widest range of Out and About San Francisco ~ San Jose treats and Wine Country Weekly.  


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