The Wine World’s No. 1 Rock Star: Dave Matthews

Rocker and gentleman farmer-vintner Dave Matthews is on a mission to promote sustainability, starting with the vegetables, grapes, cattle and chickens on his property in Virginia wine country.

“I like food,” says Dave Matthews, “but I like good food. I just think the quality of the food we eat is in a desperate state.” As members of the Dave Matthews Band straggle into this state-of-the-art recording studio deep in the Virginia hills, 15 minutes outside Charlottesville, the boss sips extraordinarily good Kona coffee while unspooling the tale of his conversion from junk food road warrior to gentleman organic farmer-vintner.

Before anyone arrived at the studio—the musicians are racing to complete Stand Up, an album that will reach No. 1 immediately after its May 2005 release—the wonderful aroma of vegetable soup filled the corridors, courtesy of a beatific young woman who cooks for the band. “We eat like kings,” Matthews says. “And we drink some really good wine.” A bottle of Merlot from Matthews’s Blenheim Vineyards sits on a counter, prompting a studio wit to declare, in plummy Orson Welles tones, “We shall release no album before its time.”