The Grateful Dead Releases Pair of Official Wines with Gnarly Head

Featuring classic Grateful Dead imagery, the bottles will be available at major retailers this month for just $12 each.

Gnarly Head x Grateful Dead
Photo: Courtesy of Gnarly Head

Even during The Grateful Dead's formative years as one of San Francisco's most recognizable jam bands, alcohol was not the substance most associated with the group. But as The Dead's core audience has aged, forcing previously long, strange trips to become shorter and more ordinary, many Deadheads are probably likelier to reach for a glass of wine over anything else. (Or maybe even just salad mix!) And so, to tap into that market, The Grateful Dead have announced a new partnership with California's Gnarly Head Wines to release two limited-edition bottlings inspired by the band.

The Lodi-based Gnarly Head bills itself as "a producer of bold California wines from gnarly old vines," and so the two Grateful Dead wines are both big reds: "A rich, spicy Old Vine Zinfandel, sourced from 35-to-80-year-old-vines in Gnarly Head's home appellation of Lodi, California, and a brooding, darkly fruity California Cabernet Sauvignon."

The tasting notes for the "medium-bodied" Zin include "aromas of blackberry bramble, juicy plum, and toasted oak" with "a balanced acidity and supple tannins." Meanwhile, the "dense and jammy" Cab is described as offering "aromas of black cherry, juicy blackberry, peppercorn and charred oak" with "a bold tannin structure and a generous finish."

"Gnarly Head wines and the music of the Grateful Dead are both rooted in Northern California, and both are expressive, bold and true to their roots — so this partnership is a natural fit," Andrew Blok, brand director for Gnarly Head, stated in the announcement. "They happen to be fantastic when enjoyed together."

Gnarly Head x Grateful Dead
Courtesy of Gnarly Head

David Lemieux, The Grateful Dead's archivist and legacy manager, also chimed in, adding, "You don't just listen to the music of The Dead, you experience it. The music is an expression of a California state of mind that's rich in creativity, connection and community. Gnarly Head wines tap that same passion and energy, and I hope that these fantastic wines inspire fans of the Dead to catch some of those vibes when they pour themselves a glass of Gnarly Head wine and put on their favorite album."

That said, though finding a symmetry between music and wine can be rather subjective, the wines' artwork certainly goes full Deadhead. The Zin features "the band's kinetic skull and roses figure, which emerges from the trunk of a twisted, ancient vine," while the Cab features an adaptation of the band's "emblematic lightning bolt skull, made famous by the cover of the epic 1976 live double album Steal Your Face."

The Limited Edition Grateful Dead Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel and California Cabernet Sauvignon will be available at major retailers nationwide — from grocers like Albertsons to wine stores like Total Wine & More — starting this month with a suggested retail price of $12.

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