Did You Know? Trisha Yearwood Passed on Deana Carter’s Sweet Hit “Strawberry Wine”

“Strawberry Wine” is Deana Carter’s signature hit, but a fellow ’90s country superstar also had her eye on the sweet song.

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Carter introduced herself to the genre of country music when she released “Strawberry Wine” as her debut single in the heat of summer in August 1996. Co-written by Matraca Berg and Gary Harrison, the song came from a personal place for Berg.

“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,” Berg shared with The Boot about the song that’s inspired by her summers staying on her grandparents’ farm, adding that she had aunts who were around the same age as her. “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.”

Berg recalls performing the song at a showcase for her publishing company where Carter was the only artist present. But before Carter put her voice on it, the song was pitched to several other artists in Nashville, including Yearwood, who cites it as a song that got away.

“I always joke about ‘Strawberry Wine,’ which I had on hold and let go,” Yearwood said to Taste of Country, comparing the song’s journey to one of her biggest hits, “She’s In Love With a Boy.” “The truth is, that song was meant for Deana Carter,” she added. “When I cut ‘She’s in Love with the Boy,’ it had been around two or three years before I recorded it. I think songs end up where they are supposed to be.”

“Strawberry Wine” earned Carter her first of three No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. It won Song of the Year at the 1997 CMA Awards and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Country Song. It’s the song that defined Carter’s career and has sold more than two million copies.

Ironically, Yearwood’s husband Garth Brooks cites “Strawberry Wine” as his favorite ’90s country song ever. “Possibly one of the greatest songs and one of the greatest records,” he told Taste of Country. “That record — Ms. Carter, she just knocked it out of the park.”

In 2021, Carter released a 25th-anniversary edition of the iconic song featuring a cast of artists across generations of country music with Ashley McBryde, Vince Gill, Martina McBride, Lauren Alaina and newcomer Kylie Morgan. She also re-recorded the title track of the album that “Strawberry Wine” appears on, Did I Shave My Legs For This?, featuring Gill, McBryde, Sara Evans and Terri Clark.

“It’s combining established artists with the ones who are rocking it on the road right now,” Carter described to American Songwriter at the time. “I wanted to have some girls that I’d worked with before, like Sara Evans and Terri Clark. Ashley McBryde is our newest chica that we’ve brought in, but Sara, Terri, and I kinda come from the same era. They’re all such strong artists, yet very unique in their own ways.”

Photo by Mickey Bernal/WireImage

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