(The Daily Advertiser) – Five years ago, winemaker Jeff Landry had reservations about hiring Nathan Williams to play his vineyard’s concert series in West Monroe. The zydeco musician from Lafayette responded with his trademark saying, “If I can’t make you shake a leg, call the undertaker because you must be dead.”
Since then, Williams has made more than 1,000 concert fans shake a leg every year. That passionate response led Landry and Williams to talk about making a wine.
“He has a passion for making people happy, like you don’t see with other musicians,” said Landry. “One day, I said, ‘Nathan, we need to do a wine for you.’
“He didn’t let me forget what I said. He’d call me or come perform and say, ‘When are we going to do our wine.’
“The man is persistent and I love that in people. I said let’s do it.”
The fruits of the Landry-Williams partnership have emerged as Nathan Williams Zydeco Wine. The new beverage made its debut at a breakout party at Prejean’s Restaurant.
Williams played accordion and serenaded family, friends and fans, who enjoyed samples.
The wine is believed to be the first manufactured and dedicated to a zydeco musician. Williams was pleased to see the final product.
“This is a good thing,” said Williams. “We’ve been talking about this for a long time. But it’s been a pleasure for me.”
“I’m glad to see it all came together. I hope it makes people shake a leg.”
Landry said Zydeco Wine is being shipped to stores across the state, especially tourist attractions. He describes the wine as a blanc du bois, a semi-sweet, French-American hybrid. It sells for $13 on the Landry Vineyards website.
The Williams wine is among 24 labels that vineyard produces and bottles.
“It’s great accomplishment by the University of Florida, which they did many years ago,” said Landry. “We have many more varieties that we can grow right here in Louisiana.
“We have 15 acres of grapes in the ground right now. We have over 30,000 gallons in production. We just don’t use our grapes. We also buy grapes.”
R&B singer Connie Garrett attended Wednesday’s party and gave Zydeco Wine a thumbs up.
“I had a chance to sample the wine and it’s very refreshing,” said Garrett, aka Connie G. “It’s almost like a resling.
“It’s sweet and it’s very cool. I really like it. It’s nice.”