Story Behind the Song: Deana Carter, ‘Strawberry Wine’
In August of 1996, Deana Carter released "Strawberry Wine" as the debut single from her first album, Did I Shave My Legs for This? Written by Matraca Berg and Gary Harrison, the song hit No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart, earned Song of the Year at the 1997 CMA Awards and was voted Song of the Year by the Nashville Songwriters Association International; "Strawberry Wine" was also nominated at the Grammy Awards and the ACM Awards.
Below, Berg tells The Boot about how "Strawberry Wine" came to be.
I just wrote the title down, "Strawberry Wine," because Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill -- that's what all the teenagers used to sneak off and drink and get sick on. I wasn't sure what it meant. I'm the kind of writer -- I kind of need music to figure stuff out. I usually don't come up with the words first; I'll have a title, and the music will tell me what it's about.
But I figured out what it was about: My dad is a farm boy from Wisconsin, and I used to go up there and stay with [my grandparents] Inga and Elmer Berg ... And I met a boy up there. My Grandma Berg just kept having babies, so my aunts were my age. So we used to run around and get in a lot of trouble together -- chase boys and whatnot. I told Gary this story, and he latched right onto it.
We wrote it quickly, in about three or four hours. We really liked it, but we thought nobody else probably would. Pat [Higdon, my publisher] was having this tent showcase with label people and artists coming to listen to the new stuff that we'd all written. And that was the only new song I had. I looked at the floor the whole time, because I was so nervous. When I looked up after playing the song for him, he was grinning from ear to ear.
Deana Carter was there, and she was the only artist that showed up. She wanted the song for her first record. The song had made the rounds for a little while before she recorded it, and everybody passed on it, [including Trisha Yearwood].
This story was originally written by Stephen L. Betts, and revised by Angela Stefano.
50 Country Songs Everyone Must Hear Before They Die