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Winston McAnuff says cheers with new wine

Published:Tuesday | September 27, 2011 | 12:00 AM

Howard Campbell, Gleaner Writer

Looking to capitalise on his fame in France, roots-reggae singer Winston McAnuff has launched a wine bearing his name in that country. The products had a test run in July when McAnuff was touring the French wine region.

McAnuff told The Gleaner recently that he was encouraged by friend Christopher Roux to get involved in the thriving French wine industry, given his reputation as arguably the biggest reggae act in France.

"I thought it was a good idea because branding is very important. When yuh have a name, especially in countries like that, it's important to do some branding," he said.

Samples of the McAnuff red and rosé wines were given out to fans, artistes and journalists in July, during his appearances at the Garance and Reggae Sun Ska festivals.

Approximately 1,000 cases of the red wine were produced in Bordeaux, one of the world's foremost wine areas. Roux's family is from Bordeaux and have been involved in the wine industry for many years.

Roux also produced the DVD for McAnuff's A Drop, one of the albums that resuscitated the singer's career in France and Europe. McAnuff, 54, says he plans to launch the wines in Jamaica sometime this year.

McAnuff was one of the promising young Rastafarian artistes who came up in the 1970s. But although he released critically-acclaimed albums like 1980's What The Man A Deal Wid, little was heard of him throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

Albums such as A Drop (2005) and Paris Rockin' (2006) for the independent Mackasounds label, have helped make McAnuff a force in France. He is scheduled to resume touring in support of his current album, A Bomb, in October, with 13 dates in Reunion Island and France.