For years, celebrities haven’t been shy about getting entrepreneurial and venturing into other lines of business, from pursuing real estate to launching a line of fragrances. One popular trend in Hollywood is tapping into the billion-dollar winemaking industry.
Celebrities may be on to something. A report from Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates, which bases its numbers on government tax paid figures, shows a surge in wine dollar sales, up by 16.8% in 2021 compared to 2020. This data applies to both domestic and imported wine, where sales were $78.4 billion in 2021, compared to $67.3 billion in 2020.
As more and more celebrity-branded wines have been making their way to shelves, Plonk Wine Club compiled a list of stars who have their own wine labels. Celebrities were defined as entertainers such as actors, athletes, musicians, and filmmakers. While some like Terrell Owens are just getting started in the art of winemaking, noted aficionados like “Godfather” director Francis Ford Coppola have been in the business of wine production for decades.
Read on to learn which entertainers also moonlight as vintners out of the spotlight.
Drew Barrymore: Barrymore Wines
Drew Barrymore stole hearts in the ’80s when the child actress shared Reese’s Pieces candy with a friendly alien in “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.” Today, the actress-entrepreneur is known for a decidedly more sophisticated palate, channeling a love of wine into a professional pursuit with Barrymore Wines. She partnered with Carmel Road Winery in 2010 to blend wines from grapes grown in Monterey, California, on land situated along the Blue Grand Canyon waters in the Pacific.
Of her wines, there’s Drew’s Blend pinot noir, with red fruit and hints of spice, and the rosé of pinot noir, consisting of floral and light citrus aromas. Fans may enjoy the affordability of Barrymore Wines, which is sold online and in select local stores.
Francis Ford Coppola: Francis Ford Coppola Winery
The same year that audiences were flocking to see his Academy Award-winning epic “Apocalypse Now,” Francis Ford Coppola was unveiling another ambitious project. Francis Ford Coppola Winery was formed in 1979 and continues a family tradition of winemaking—his grandfather used to make his own blends in the basement of his New York apartment building.
Coppola’s brand offers over 40 wines produced on-site, ranging from $9.50 to $65 per bottle. Some of the wines produced in Coppola’s Inglenook Winery in Napa Valley, California, include the Cyrano grenache, the Francis Coppola Reserve pinot noir, and the Coppola Reserve cabernet sauvignon. Coppola partnered with Delicato Family Wines in 2021, a partnership that establishes the group as the #5 supplier of wines priced $11 or more in the U.S. market.
Fergie: Ferguson Crest
It’s a family affair for former Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie, who started Ferguson Crest with her father, Pat Ferguson, back in 2006. The 6-acre estate winery is set in Santa Barbara’s Santa Ynez Valley and even features a red blend called Fergalicious.
Fergie’s father, who worked as a horticulturist his whole life, decided he wanted to start growing grapes and shift his focus solely to making wine. The wine label has a variety of selections including another blend, Axl Jack, named after Fergie’s son with Josh Duhamel. The winery operates with an exclusive to the Crest Club membership, with wines ranging from $25 to $75 per bottle. Members also have access to winery discounts and autographed bottles.
Guy Fieri: Hunt & Ryde Winery
Chef, restaurateur, and TV personality Guy Fieri purchased a 5-acre pinot noir vineyard in the Russian River Valley region of California called Hunt & Ryde Winery, named after his sons, Hunter and Ryder. Hoping to create wine that stood on its own without a celebrity name, Fieri partnered with Guy Davis of Davis Family Vineyards for his endeavor.
The host of Food Network shows like “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” may have surprised some with his own wine label, but he explained in Wine Enthusiast magazine, “I’m not just a triple-burger guy.” Wine enthusiasts can expect three wines from Hunt & Ryde: a pinot noir, zinfandel, and cabernet blend. The wines generally cost upwards of $100 per bottle, but some fall under $50 or $20.
Wayne Gretzky: Wayne Gretzky Estates
Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky is synonymous with the number 99—his famed jersey number was officially retired from the NHL when he left the game in 2000. So it’s no surprise that when Gretzky launched his next endeavor, he made sure that his signature number was well represented. The No. 99 is proudly emblazoned on his wine bottles and his members-only group is called the No. 99 Wine and Cocktail Club.
Gretzky’s first wines were introduced by Creekside Estates in 2007, a partnership that eventually dissolved. In 2017, Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery & Distillery officially opened and was modeled after the Gretzky family farm. With a full-bodied blend of cabernet and merlot pressed from Niagara and Okanagan grapes, WGE wines can be purchased across 100 locations in Ontario, Canada. A portion of the proceeds from each bottle supports the Wayne Gretzky Foundation, a charitable organization that helps all children have a chance to play hockey.
Julianne Hough and Nina Dobrev: Fresh Vine
Longtime friends Julianne Hough and Nina Dobrev collaborated with Napa Valley winemaker Jamey Whetstone to create Fresh Vine. Hough, who became a household name as a cast member on “Dancing with the Stars,” and Dobrev, who played Elena on “The Vampire Diaries,” wanted to take a health-conscious approach to their wine label. Their Napa Valley, California-based brand is centered on producing gluten-free, low-carb, vegan-friendly wines across the U.S. with selections including pinot noir, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, and rosé.
Hough and Dobrev were inspired to launch their wine brand based on their shared appreciation and passion for a healthy and active lifestyle. Hough also notes that she and Dobrev always shared life’s ups and downs together—“with a glass of wine in hand.” Creating health-conscious wine blends was their way of celebrating those parts of their lives without compromise, according to the duo.
George Lucas: Skywalker Vineyards
From “Star Wars” to Skywalker Vineyards, George Lucas has, once again, tapped into his creative and entrepreneurial mind to create an empire of a different kind. It was in 1991 when Lucas first planted vineyards in Marin County, north of San Francisco. They were the realization of a lifelong dream: Long before he traveled to galaxies far, far away, Lucas grew up among vineyards and the smell of fermenting grapes in Modesto, a farming community in central California.
Inspired and encouraged by his friend Francis Ford Coppola, Lucas tried his hand at planting grapes on a 4-acre patch of land. His vineyard has since expanded to 35 acres, and is set amid a 6,000-acre working ranch that includes Wagyu cattle, an olive orchard, bee hives, and an organic garden. The wines from Skywalker Vineyards include pinot noir, red blends, and chardonnay.
Kyle MacLachlan: Pursued by Bear Wine
In 2005, actor Kyle MacLachlan—a Yakima, Washington, native—sought to combine his love for his hometown with his passion for the wine industry to create Pursued by Bear Wine. The label’s name—a hat tip to the famed stage direction “Exit, pursued by a bear” from Shakespeare’s “A Winter’s Tale”— also blends in the actor’s love of theater.
MacLachlan grew up close to the vineyards where he now grows the grapes used for production. His small, boutique winery produces a limited run of reds and a rosé, which have been well-received by wine reviewers. MacLachlan is heavily involved in several aspects of the business, including selecting specific blends with an expert winemaker.
Dave Matthews: Blenheim Vineyards
In 2000, musician and lead frontman Dave Matthews established the Virginia-based Blenheim Vineyards on an 18th-century farm that he originally purchased for its local historical significance. The farm, once frequented by neighbor Thomas Jefferson, is located about 20 minutes outside of Charlottesville. It’s part of the Monticello American Viticultural Area and is one of the 30 vineyards along the Monticello Wine Trail.
The vineyards have chardonnay, viognier, cabernet franc, petit verdot, and cabernet sauvignon grapes. The Sea View vineyard block is home to the oldest vines at Blenheim, with 3 acres planted to merlot and 3 acres planted to pinot noir. The premium wine brand currently ships to 26 states and some bottles include original designs drawn by Matthews.
Yao Ming: Yao Family Wines
Yao Ming, a former professional basketball player for the Houston Rockets, has since retired from the sport and has ventured into the wine industry. The Napa Valley, California-based Yao Family Wines was established in 2011, but Ming developed an interest in wines well before then.
In 2004, Ming’s Houston Rockets teammate Dikembe Mutombo introduced him to Houston’s Texas Steakhouse, where, over the course of several steak dinners paired with wine, Ming became inspired to learn more about the winemaking process. In 2009, he visited Napa Valley for the first time, which led him to create his own winery. In 2011, the retired athlete debuted two wines: Yao Ming Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon and Yao Ming Napa Valley Family Reserve cabernet sauvignon. In 2013, the premium winery launched its second label, Napa Crest, keeping the love for winemaking going nearly 10 years later.
Sam Neill: Two Paddocks
New Zealand actor Sam Neill, best known for starring in films like “Jurassic Park” and “The Piano,” launched his Two Paddocks wine brand in 1993. The organic and biodynamic pinot noir vineyard is situated on 5 acres of land in the Central Otago wine region of New Zealand. Some of the oldest vines were planted from the time of the brand’s launch in 1993.
Neill has been intentional about the practices of his wine business, including hand-harvesting and employing organic farming principles. In 2017, all of his vineyards were certified organic. Two Paddocks wine is sold for as much as 95 New Zealand dollars (about $61) per bottle.
Terrell Owens: Eighty-One Wine
In 2016, former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Terrell Owens was presented with an opportunity to partner with Lasorda Family Wines, founded by the late Baseball Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda. Owens consulted with the winemaker for Lasorda Family Wines, based in Paso Robles, California, for a few years before creating his own label, Eighty-One. Owens then released a cabernet sauvignon that had been aged for 18 months.
Owens, a wine enthusiast himself, sought to provide a brand that both wine lovers and sports fans alike would appreciate. The brand’s name, Eighty-One, can be traced back to Owens’ successful NFL career, during which he donned the number 81 across his jersey.
Pink: Two Wolves Wine
Many may know Pink as a famous pop singer, but the Grammy Award winner has also ventured into owning her own wine business, Two Wolves, a 25-acre vineyard she purchased with her husband in Santa Ynez, California. The brand’s name, derived from a Cherokee parable, includes a cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, and a petit verdot.
Prior to launching her wine brand, Moore made wine in her garage. In order to become more knowledgeable about the wine industry, Moore enrolled in classes at the University of California, Los Angeles, and took trips across the globe to winemaking regions. She eventually tried her hand at the viticultural elements of winemaking, leaving her city life for farm living. Two Wolves wines are sold exclusively online to its members, with product releases in the spring, fall, and winter.
Charles Woodson: Intercept Wines
Former NFL player Charles Woodson launched Intercept Wines brand in 2019. Woodson developed an appreciation for wine during his training in Napa Valley while playing for the Oakland Raiders. Woodson’s pinot noir has aromas of strawberry, nutmeg, and pastry cream.
A bottle of this medium-bodied wine generally costs between $20 to $22. A special Limited-Edition Hall of Fame cabernet sauvignon is a specialty blend from vineyards in Paso Robles, California and was created to celebrate a personal milestone from Woodsen’s storied football career. Only 6,500 of these bottles were made to pay homage to Woodson’s 65 professional career interceptions. With each bottle, Woodson curated engraved accolades from his NFL days.
This story originally appeared on Plonk Wine Club and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.
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