I wrote an earlier blog on June 30th, entitled From Woodstock to Wine Stock ~ These Wines Rock, about Rock n’Rollers who have also segued into the wine world.
Celebrity wines are an easy marketing draw, because they’ve got a built-in audience, and this segment category is continuing to grow. For the Nielsen ratings, “Celebrity” means anyone from any of the performing arts who has segued from his/her stardom into the world of wine. It’s such an easy thing to do; i.e., market an existing nomenclature. The audience’s adoration is already built-in. People will even pay more, because the name is already associate with established recognition.
The November 10, 2008 issue of People magazine features an article on celebrity wines. People asked Gary Vaynerchuk, to rate the wines of four celebrity winemakers. Since I began an earlier list, I’m inspired to continue the list for the sake of posterity. [Okay, I also love compiling data.]
Included in this list is now a new brand.
Hip-Hop artist Lil Jon has launched Little Jonathan Winery. Gary rated his 2006 Central Coast Chardonnay ($15.99), which scored 89 points for those who need third party endorsements before they dare spend money.
For me, just looking at a package makes me want to go there, because this one rocks! It’s classy… Just well done…
Lil Jon’s wine brand started much the same many new wine brands start… by producing a few cases of wine to share with friend… I’ve learned from some vintners that seeing their own name on their own bottle of wine is an extension of themselves. It plays to their egos; the core of who they are. A well balanced ego should produce a well-balance wine, and so-far so good from those I’ve met. Someone with an already established reputation isn’t going to throw it all away with plunk, so I’d give it a try with high expectations, just based on this.
RULE #1 of marketing when you already have a reputation: You can’t risk it, Biscuit! Do it right the first time.
So, here’s my list updated (which now also includes a few more from my first compilation):
Kermit Lynch (1972): Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant
Robert Foley (1977): Robert Foley Vineyards
Olivia Newton-John (1983): Koala Blue wines
Doobie Brothers (1984): BR Cohn is their manager
Boz Scaggs (1997): Scaggs Vineyard
Mick Fleetwood (2002): Mick Fleetwood, Private Cellar
Bob Dylan (2002): Planet Waves wine
Andy Hill (2002): English sparkling wine Nyetimber, owned by songwriter Hill, who wrote all the hits for Bucks Fizz
Sir Cliff Richard (2004): Vineyard in Portugal, Vida Nova and Wells Wines
Jerry Garcia (2005): J. Garcia wines by Clos du Bois
Mötley Crüe (2005): Vince Vineyards
Madonna (2005): is joint owner of the Ciccone Vineyard and Winery in Michigan
Mick Hucknall of Simply Red (2005): Vineyard in Sicily, where he produces a Nero d’Avola called Il Cantante
Sting : Vineyard in Tuscany (he makes a Chianti called Il Serrestori, but it is for friends and family only)
Now, Lil Jon’s (2008): Little Jonathan Winery.
There will be more. Stay tuned for details! (If you know of a brand, please let me know, too, so this list can grow.)
UPDATE: January 9, 2009: Maynard James Keenan of Tool and A Perfect Circle hasCaduceus Cellars. Maynard is making his own wine in Cornville, Arizona.