The Story Behind The Song: Fine Wine

Sometimes it can be hard to nail down the exact story behind the song. Songs are elusive by nature, and it’s rare that I can recall that exact moment where a song truly came to life. But this one is different, this one is one I’ve shared from the stage so many times that it is permanently engrained in my memory.

I started writing Fine Wine in a hotel room in Houston. I had several days there and didn’t have much to do other than play guitar and write. I had recently had a conversation with an old friend I knew from high school. A lot of our friends from back then were getting married (which is always strange). As conversations like that can go, we started talking about what I want in a partner. I don’t remember much about that conversation, but something about it stuck with me. 

When she hands me that drink
I start to open up a little
And say what I need to say
— Fine Wine

That night in Houston I wrote drafts of what became the verses and chorus of Fine Wine. I think this was a way to process that conversation with that friend. I wrote down what I was looking for. And it wasn’t what I expected. It wasn’t a list of qualities, or personality traits, or a particular sense of humor, or a certain “look”. What it all came down to was this: I wanted someone who made me feel comfortable, who could understand me in a way that no one else could. That was my fine wine, the rarest thing of all, and the most precious. 

Fast forward about a month to an almost empty coffee shop in Cincinnati. I was nearing the end of a 2 hour set and I had just about run out of songs. I needed to fill an extra 5 minutes, so I decided to try out Fine Wine. Oh… It wasn’t done yet. I hadn’t finished the chorus or the bridge, but I figured I’d just make it up as I went along. Sometimes you just find that moment where the music sits just right. That’s exactly what happened. I don’t know if it was just a matter of getting lost in myself or if it was the pressure of improvising, but I sang the exact words I had been looking for. 5 minutes later when I finished my set, I ran into the bathroom and recorded it on my iPhone. Because it’s the 21st century and that’s how we write songs.

So that’s how Fine Wine came to be. A conversation with an old friend, a night of dreaming, and an empty coffee shop. Funny thing is, about a month after that night in the empty coffee shop, I met her, the woman who would become my Fine Wine.  

Jameson Elder