Tuesday, January 18, 2011

CELEBRITY WINE


Celebrity Wine

Fame and fortune seem to be attracted to the wine business.  Celebrities - especially rich ones - are well-suited to winemaking.  First of all it takes a fortune to run a winery  Secondly, all that fame comes in handy when promoting a product.  Here are some celebs from different areas of fame who have ventured into the wine world.

Sports

Golfers seem to be very much attracted to the wine industry.  Greg Norman has long been involved as a Napa Valley winemaker with his Greg Norman Estates.  Jack Nicklaus has teamed with Terlato for his own Nicklaus label, while Arnold Palmer partnered with Napa Valley’s Luna Vineyards for his line.  Fred Couples recently formed a partnership with winemaker Mitch Cosentino for his Couples & Co. brand.  Nick Faldo fronts wine made in Australia while Ernie Els and John Dalyboth have labels for wines made from South African grapes.  Annika Sorenstam works with Wente Vineyards to produce Annika Vineyards wines and Christie Kerr has partnered with Napa Valley’s Pride Mountain Vineyards for Curvature.

Auto racing legend Mario Andretti founded a winery with the former CEO of K-Mart, Joe Antonini.  Frank Arciero, who was involved in auto racing as an owner, founded and owns the Arciero Family Vineyards in Paso Robles, California.  Jeff Gordon shares the driver’s seat with Napa’s August Briggs Winery for his Jeff Gordon Wines label.  NASCAR owner Kevin Buckler also owns the Sonoma County Adobe Road Winery, while fellow NASCAR owner Richard Childressowns the North Carlina-based Childress Vineyards.

Athletes like skater Peggy Fleming, hockey great Wayne Gretzky and former baseball hall-of-famer Tom Seaver are all in the wine business to one degree or another.

Actors

Plenty of actors have been bitten by the winemaking bug.  Dan Akroyd has paired with Diamond Estates to produce a line of Canadian wines, from southern Ontario and the Niagara Peninsula. Gerard Depardieu bought Chateau de Tigne in the Loire Valley in 1989.  Lorraine Bracco has her Bracco Wines based in Italy.  The late Raymond Burr bought a Sonoma County winery in Dry Creek Valley, which is now run by his partner.  Desperate Housewives star Kyle MacLachlanworks with a Walla Walla, Washington winery to produce a red blend he calls Pursued By Bear.  The late Fess Parker would occasionally hold court in his Santa Ynez Valley hotel, leading singalongs while his guests enjoyed his wines, produced just up the road.

Singers

Madonna has a line of wines, thanks to her father!  Ciccone Vineyards, owned by one Sylvio Ciccone, celebrates the superstar in vino.  Dave Matthews owns a Virginia winery, Blenheim Vineyard, Rapper Lil Jon has a line of wine, although he has claimed to know not very much about wine, except that he likes the taste.  Olivia Newton-John founded her Australian label Koala Blue in 1983.  British star Cliff Richard owns a winery in Portugal.  

Tommy Smothers
 has a Sonoma County vineyard.  The other half of the act is Tommy’s brother,Dick.  He’s into auto racing, so maybe someday he’ll join Tommy amongst the vines.

Rockers

Jonathan Cain, of Journey fame, partnered with winemakers Dennis De La Montanya and Daryl Groom for the delaCain label.   Mick Fleetwood hooked up with Langtry Estate for his Private Cellar label.  Vince Neil has a vineyard and winery named after himself.

Politician Nancy Pelosi owns two vineyards, but doesn’t make wine.  She sells the grapes to other winemakers.

Wine critic Robert Parker owns a vineyard and winery in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Beaux Freres.  To avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, he abstains from rating any wines from Oregon.