The Celebrity Wine “A” List

In days of yore, celebrities commonly got involved with products that might be called (no offense intended) utilitarian.

Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays sang the praises of Blue Bonnet margarine.

Joe Namath bestowed the virtues of Noxema shaving cream.

James Garner and Mariette Hartley hawked Polaroid cameras.

As time went on, celebrities not only endorsed products, they lent their names to them.

Paul Newman sought to help others with his food line called Newman’s Own.

Michael Jordan jumped for joy over the success of Nike’s Air Jordan shoes.

But no industry that I can think of has had an influx of celebrities to rival that experienced by the wine industry.

The list is long, impressive and ever changing. It includes, or has included, Mario Andretti, Dan Aykroyd, Antonio Banderas, Drew Barrymore, Raymond Burr, Mike Ditka, Ernie Els, Mick Fleetwood, Peggy Fleming, Greg Norman, Arnold Palmer, Fess Parker and Boz Scaggs.

That’s a mere fraction of the full list, and includes only those who feature their names on the labels.

Now, we can add three more names to the celebrity vintner list: singer Fergie, and Hollywood “it” couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

Pitt and Jolie spend summers at a chateau in Provence, and have partnered with the famous Perrin family to produce a rosé-style wine called Miraval—a delightful blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah and Rolle. According to a statement issued by Pitt, he and Jolie are “intimately involved” in the project.

As for Fergie, she did not have to search far and wide for a vintner. Her father, Pat Ferguson, has always had a green thumb (the backyard of the old family home in Hacienda Heights, Calif., has been described as “a wonderland of fruit and vegetable crops”), and after retiring to Santa Barbara County’s Santa Ynez Valley, he turned his attention to grape growing.

Together, Fergie and Pat founded Ferguson Crest, and one of the wines they make with winemaker Joey Tensley is called “Fergalicious,” a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Grenache and Merlot.

“My wines are about having a dream and making it come true,” Fergie told USA Today. “It’s something for a father and daughter to share together. It’s coming from the inside out. It’s not about having a huge business.”

And let’s face it: Wine is a lot more fun than margarine.

Blue Bonnet Margarine

Noxema Shaving Cream

Polaroid Cameras

Posted in Editor's Journal
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  4. […] There are quite a few celebrities—including a handful of “A” listers—who are making wine…or at least attaching their names to wine projects…these days, as we detailed in this recent blog. […]

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