The song is credited to War members Papa Dee Allen, Harold Brown, B.B. Dickerson, Lonnie Jordan, Charles Miller, Lee Oskar and Howard Scott. It was released as a single in 1970, backed with “Magic Mountain” and became War’s first charting hit (an international hit, at that), going to #3 in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. It went to #5 in Mexico, #15 in The Netherlands, and #28 in Germany. The song was also released on War’s 1970 album Eric Burden Declares “War.”
There have been numerous covers of “Spill the Wine.” Artists with versions include The Isley Brothers, 2nu, Lighter Shade of Brown, Michael Hutchence, The B-Side Players, Los Mocosos, Vinyl, LA. Carpool, and Widespread Panic.
The War band formed in Long Beach, California in 1969, and fused the sounds of rock, funk, jazz, Latin music, R&B, and reggae. Other hits include “The Cisco Kid, “Why Can’t We Be Friends?”, “Low Rider,” and “The World is a Ghetto,” to mention a few. For “Spill the Wine,” the lineup was Eric Burdon (lead vocals), Lee Oskar (Harmonica), Charles Miller (tenor sax, flute), Howard Scott (guitar, backing vocals), Lonnie Jordan (organ, piano), Bee Bee Dickerson (bass, backing vocals), Harold Brown (drums), and De Allen (conga, percussion). The membership has changed over the years, of course, but they continue to tour and perform.