Brown Sugar? No, But Just as Sweet

    The Rolling Stones are shining a light on British Columbia’s wine industry.

     Ex Nihilo Vineyards Inc., located near Kelowna, began marketing the limited-edition “Sympathy for the Devil” icewine on May 1 after the company worked out a deal with Mick and the boys to form a licensing partnership.

     It’s all part of a trend toward celebrities attaching their names to wine products.

     “It’s going to add more credibility [to Ex Nihilo],” company owner Jeff Harder said in an interview. “[The Rolling Stones] don’t just join anybody. They like our wine and our concept.”

     Harder said he first got the idea three years ago after attending a Rolling Stones concert in San Francisco.

     He was invited to a VIP dinner hosted by the Stones, where he linked up with Martin Erlichman, whose Los Angeles-based Celebrity Cellars links wineries with celebrities, including Madonna, KISS and Celine Dion.

     Harder said members of the Stones have tried his icewine, but haven’t yet visited his winery.

     “To get good icewine, you have to come to the Okanagan. [The Rolling Stones] are very familiar with Canadian icewine. [They] tried our wine and gave it two thumbs up.”

     Harder, who has formed Celebrity Cellars Canada, an extension of Erlichman’s company, also leases other vineyard properties in the Okanagan Valley.

     The company has future plans to release a Rolling Stones red wine and a white wine.

     Harder, who attended the premiere of Martin Scorsese’s Rolling Stones documentary, “Shine a Light,” said each bottle in the 222 cases of Rolling Stones icewine will be hand-numbered.

     Harder refused to say how much The Rolling Stones will make via the licensing agreement, only that, “The Rolling Stones do get paid.

     “I was also fascinated by their music and their business model,” he added. “They do a good job at it.”

     He said bottles will sell for about $125.

Posted in Wine Buzz
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