There is a story that Dom Perignon, a blind monk and master winemaker for the monestary in Champagne opened a bottle of their regular still table wines that had been aging in their bottles in the French caves. Upon tasting the bubbles created from the accidental second fermentation that had taken place, Perignon called out, “Brothers come quickly! There are stars in our wine!” Today, the wine world is experiencing stars in wine in a new way. Instead of just drinking wine, stars are becoming winery and vineyard owners or licensing their names to become the face of wine brands. Here is a list of surprising celebrity and politico owners, some of whom are making some pretty good wine. Some even in our area.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
The star couple own a vineyard in France and produce a Provençal rosé called Chateau Miraval Rosé. They purchased the South of France estate in 2008 for reportedly $60 million. The wine is packaged in what is a traditional Champagne bottle and is made primarily of Grenache grapes. It is said to be a really serious wine. According to the McArthur’s Wine in D.C. website, it retails there for approximately $21.
Race car driver legend Mario Andretti has traded in the literal fast lane for the rolling hill vineyards of Napa Valley, Calif. His 42 -acre estate vineyard grows pinot grigio, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and merlot. The winery also produces a moscato and red zinfandel. Prices range from $26-$85.
The former speaker of The House doesn’t produce actual wine but she along with her husband own two vineyards in Napa Valley that produce grapes for wine making by other area wineries.
David and Victoria Beckham
International footballer (soccer) star David Beckham surprised his celebrity wife with the gift of a Napa Valley, California vineyard in 2008. Of course the winery produces a bottling named after his wife Victoria aka “Posh Spice,” the former Spice Girl. However, sorry Becks fans, the vineyard is private and only produces wine for the Beckham family and their friends.
Front man of his self-named chart-topping Dave Matthew’s Band set up shop in his beloved hills of Charlottesville, Va. His vineyard and winery are named Blenheim Vineyards. The estate has a long historical linage including being a resting stop on George and Martha Washington’s journeys through Virginia. The winery produces cabernet franc, viognier, chardonnay, and merlot in the $18-$22 range.
“The Donald” purchased the Kluge Winery at a foreclosure auction and renamed it — what else? — Trump Winery. Located in Charlottesville, Va., his tasting room is only a minute’s drive from Dave Mathew’s Blenheim Vineyards. Trump produces sparkling rose?, viognier, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, and red table wines ranging from $16-$40.
Wine enthusiast and four-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion, partnered with a winemaker and began producing his Jeff Gordon Collection wines. Gordon sources his grapes from vineyards and his winemaker makes the wine at a winery facility. The Gordon Collection produces chardonnay, pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon and a cabernet blend.
Senator Mark Warner
Growing grapes for Ingelside Vineyard is a side venture for former Virginia governor and current U.S. Senator. Warner owned a Rappahannock County farm, 50 miles from Richmond, where he devotes 15 acres to growing viognier, chardonnay, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, and sangiovese grapes for Ingleside. In turn, Ingleside produces a private label for Warner that he has donated to charities.
Solo artist and member of the chart-topping hip hop group Black Eye Peas owns a winery in Santa Ynez, Calif. with her father. The Ferguson Crest six acre estate produces viognier, syrah, cabernet sauvignon and of course, a wine called “Fergalicious”- a blend of cabernet sauvignon, syrah, grenache and merlot.
Like Fergie, Madonna owns a winery with her father. Ciccone Vineyard and Winery is located in the Leelanau Peninsula of Michigan. They produce riesling, gewürztraminer, pinot grigio, chardonnay, pinot noir, and cabernet franc.