Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Celebrity Wines

Once upon time, when I was just starting in the wine biz, one of my instructors told me that having/ owning a winery requires so much money that in order to do this, you basically needed to be rich or have received a huge inheritance. The truth is we are talking millions of dollars here, considering the money you will need to buy grapes or own vineyards, to purchase all of the machinery, hire staff to do the work, plus the money you need to spend to promote and market your brands, I'm sure you get the picture! It’s no surprise to me to see so many celebrities, who have the $$$$ to invest, venturing into making their own wine and spirits.

Now to the consumer, a celebrity’s name on the label doesn't always guarantee quality! but it does, in the case of the wines I recommend below, and this is mostly because of the celebrity’s commitment to make a great product.
In some cases, some celebrities are truly wine connoisseurs themselves and know exactly what they want in a wine and how to sell it, participating not only in the marketing of their brand, but also in the blend selection helping to determine their flavor profile. Others have retired from Hollywood for good, to become vine growers and producers themselves, embracing and promoting what every wine producer does, the terroir behind each of their wines and the love of the land. In any case, for the wine biz this is a win/win situation, not only a celebrity’s endorsement will sell the wines very well, but oftentimes their partnerships with local winemakers benefits entire appellations and countries too.

So, here are some celebrity wines that I have tasted lately and that I liked:

Sarah Jessica Parker
Known for playing Carrie Bradshaw in HBO’s Sex and The City and Divorce, Sarah launched her own wine line: Invivo X SJP in 2019, a collaboration with 2 New Zealand winemakers: Tim Lightbourne and Rob Cameron. 

Sarah’s line includes two wines: Invivo X SJP Sauvignon Blanc and Invivo X SJP Rosé, made in the south of France with the partnership of Vins Chevron Villete. My favorite is, of course, their Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2022, which retails for $20. Zippy and super refreshing, it features delicious notes of grapefruit, passion fruit and lime. Rounder, compared to other Marlborough wines, yet so fruit forward and intense, a wine to impress others for sure!

Brad Pitt
From Thelma and Louise, to Interview with the Vampire to the many Ocean 11 movies, Angelina Jolie’s ex ventured into the world of wine in 2012, when together the then couple, bought Chateau Miraval and its vineyards, in the south of France. The Jolie-Pitts joined forces with winemaker Marc Perrin, producer of renowned Rhone red Chateau Beaucastel, to make a very impressive lineup of Provence rosé and white wines. My recommendation is the entry level Chateau Miraval Rosé  2022, that costs only $26. It’s a blend of Cinsault, Syrah, Grenache and Rolle. This is a super elegant rosé  that showcases raspberry and wild strawberry notrd with ethereal minerality. They also sell Muse, a super rosé  that retails for $400.
After their much talked divorce, Angelina sold her shares to the owners of Stoli vodka, but Brad Pitt decided to keep his stake at the company.

Sam Neil
Famous for his role in the Jurassic Park movies, among many other films. Sam Neil has owned an organic winery in Central Otago, New Zealand since 1993. His brand Two Paddocks produces wines from two varieties: Pinot Noir and Riesling. Sam is very involved in the winemaking of his wines, as he was exposed to wine from a young age, because his parents and grandparents were wine and spirits merchants. He became a Pinot Noir enthusiast after tasting Burgundy while visiting France and soon after, he started collecting, when he resided in London. He makes an entry level wine called Picnic, and my favorite, which happens to be the winery’s flagship: Two Paddocks Pinot Noir 2021 $55, a medium bodied red that displays red currant and black cherry aromas, with earthy (truffle) and smoky notes. He also makes fancier single vineyard wines, but only in exceptional vintages.

Other celebrities making wines include Sting, Jon Bon Jovi, Francis Ford Coppola, Cameron Diaz, etc, too many for me to recommend. But as I tell my students, the only way to know about wine is to keep on tasting, as much as possible and as often as possible. So don't be afraid to give them a try, until next one! Cheers, Silvina.


 #thoughtsoflawina #celebritywines #drinkupamerica #invivosjp