Wine plays daily part in musician’s frantic, healthy life

Just about this time last year, I tried very hard to break two of my fingers on a rope swing at a lake in North Carolina. I eventually made it to an urgent care center to X-ray my swollen digits (no breaks, only bruises). While I waited to be seen, I filled out that familiar checklist of health questions. For the question: How often do you consume alcohol, I replied “daily.”

With a raised eyebrow, the nurse paused and suggested this might be excessive and detrimental. I just shrugged.

For nearly 20 years, I’ve viewed wine as an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. I generally enjoy a couple of four-ounce glasses of wine with my nightly meal. I wasn’t brought up that way, so I do understand what that nurse might have been thinking.

I bring all this up because I was recently invited to a yoga, wine and music event at Atlanta’s Buckhead Theater. Called Soulshine, it featured Michael Franti and Spearhead of “Say Hey (I Love You)” fame. Popular music concerts are usually associated with excesses (mostly from the unhealthy category), but not this one.

Quite the contrary. Franti, a San Francisco resident, is a bit of a health nut, who is very much into music, yoga and healthy eating. Moderate consumption of wine is an important key to his diet regime.

The always smiling Franti had a crazy idea to share not only his music, but all the things that make him happy. So, he called up several leading yoga instructors, a couple of his favorite bands and one of his favorite winemakers and asked them to go on tour. They agreed and loaded up their yoga mats, guitars and corkscrews and hit the road for his 31-stop nationwide Soulshine Tour, which featured music from Franti’s latest album, “The Sound of Sunshine.”

Several hours before each show, attendees of all levels of yoga expertise participated in a mass yoga class accompanied with lilting, acoustic music by Franti. I missed this, but Franti said without the yoga component (something he would normally do anyway, only in private), he couldn’t stand the pressure and demands of the tour.

As I was swirling a glass of tasty Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon about 20 minutes before he took the stage, I asked Franti to join me in a glass. He declined and said he would probably have one or two after the show with his meal.

And what wine might that have been? Most likely from Ca’ Momi, a Napa Valley winery and a major sponsor of the Soulshine Tour. And it was likely poured by Valentina Guolo-Migotto, owner of Ca’ Momi, who extolled the healthy virtues of wine at each tour stop.

When the Soulshine tour was being organized, Franti knew he had a ready partner in Guolo-Migotto. “This partnership is a natural extension of Ca’ Momi’s shared values with Michael, Soulshine and his Do It For The Love community. I’m thrilled to be a part of the tour and to celebrate community through three of my passions: music, wine and yoga.” (Valentina also runs Ca’ Momi restaurant in Napa, which produces some of the best Neapolitan pizza to ever come out of a wood-fired oven.)

Founded in part by Franti, Do It For The Love is a nonprofit wish-granting organization that brings people in advanced stages of life-threatening illnesses to live concerts. This year, Ca’ Momi partnered with the foundation to create two wines: Do It For The Love red and white blends. All the profits from these wines are donated to the foundation. These can be purchased at www.doitforthelove.org and www.camomiwinery.com ($19/bottle).

Music. Yoga. Charity. Good wine and food. The four tenets of Franti’s frantic life — a frantic but healthy life.

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Gil Kulers is a sommelier and maitre d’ for an Atlanta country club. You can reach him at gil.kulers@winekulers.com.

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