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Rock n'Roll,Wine,Wine Business,Winery

Lil Jon ~ Another Musical Celebrity on the Rock N’Roll Wine Producer List

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.

5 Responses to “Lil Jon ~ Another Musical Celebrity on the Rock N’Roll Wine Producer List”

  1. kevin keith says:

    Jo,

    Don’t forget Maynard James Keenan, lead singer of Tool and A Perfect Circle. He’s full on into wine, adjusting his band’s touring schedule around harvesting and anything else he needs to do at his winery (which is in Arizona). He has Caduceus Cellars, Merkin Vineyards and Arizona Stronghold Vineyards.

    And also Geoff Tate (of metal band Queensryche) and Jackson Browne are jumping into it, as is Dan Ackroyd (if you wanna count the Blues Brothers).

  2. jo says:

    Hey, Kevin,

    Besides Happy Birthday (and making it past 41 – don’t we get funny things into our heads?), this is an excellent gift. When you search on musicians who have made the segue, it’s difficult to find them. (How many Google pages does it take before one becomes totally bored?)

    I’ll add these all to the list, including Dan Ackroyd, because the Blues Brothers RULE! (Sorry, it’s a generational thing, and I WAS there during those Saturday Night skits… Along with Eddie Murphy’s Mr. Robinson’s neighborhood!)

  3. Jeff Hogg says:

    I’ve got a few to add to this list, unless the list is strictly rock n’ roll.

    Raymond Burr’s Raymond Burr Vineyards.
    Drew Bledsoe has Flying B Vineyards in Walla Walla.
    Mario Andretti has Andretti Vineyards.
    Joe Montana has Montagio Wine.
    Kyle McLaughlin of TwinPeaks has Pursued by Bear.

  4. Jo says:

    There are quite a few people in other performing art groups that exist. My focus for this one faction of it is because I was in radio for so long that my interest is in following those who have made a similar segue. (Music to wine)

    Sting, for instance, was in Portland, Maine in the late 1980s early 1990s… Someone would have to help me out, because so much has happened between then and now… But, Sting performed his last tour date, finishing in Portland, and was willing to meet people backstage – the first (and last) time on this tour. There were only four of us… My husband, daughter, one of her friends, and me. He was so warm and welcoming that the bond was made for remembering what an amazing man he was off stage as well as on.

    I have a portfolio from back stage passes and images I was able to take because of being in that business during the 80s and early 90s that is awesome… I’m honoring my own roots with this one.

    I appreciate your list, because who knows who will compile the next list and this is now stored on the Internet.

    Thanks for you input, and thanks for reading!

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