Thank you for visiting Wine Ponder, and welcome to part 4 of “celebrity winemakers”. This Celebrity Wine article features Madonna, Paul Newman, Sofia Coppola, and Bob Dylan. Enjoy and make sure to check the bottom of the page for more celebrity winemakers!
Enjoy and check back later for more!
13 – Madonna, the ‘Queen of Pop’, has a winery bearing her name, although by coincidence rather than by design. The Madonna Estate wines from Californian Carneros AVA (Napa Valley) are entirely independent of the pop star; the winery has borne its name for almost a century.
Madonna does have her own affiliation with wine, with her dad Silvio Tony Ciccone, from Ciccone Vineyard and Winery. This is a family owned vineyard on the slopes of the Leelanau Peninsula (MI), where the vines grow through clay and sandy loam soils to produce wines expressive of the site. The estate make a Pinot Noir, a Cabernet Franc and some red blends, as well as a Chardonnay, a Pinot Grigio, a Gewürztraminer and a couple of white blends. They also make a dessert wine and a cherry wine called Bella Ciliegia. They have a lovely tasting room and if you’re lucky, Madonna might be there taking time off from the entertainment industry. All their wines sell for under $20 a bottle… much cheaper than a Madonna concert.
In addition to being a Hollywood legend, he used his popularity and his name to sell products and donate one hundred percent of the proceeds and royalties to the Newman’s Own Foundation which sponsors “Hole in the Wall Gang Camps” and plenty of other organizations.
Hollywood icon Paul Newman added several Californian wines to his ‘Newman’s Own’ product range, shortly before passing away in September 2008. Using environmentally friendly techniques and grapes, the wines are produced by Trinchero Family Estates in St. Helena, who also handles Folie à Deux and Ménage à Trois. The company makes a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Chardonnay, a Merlot, and a Pinot Noir, all for $10 to $15 a bottle, and you can find them at Whole Foods Market. While I have not tasted the wine myself, the online reviews are quite positive.
Francis Ford Coppola, the godfather of celebrity winemakers, purchased his substantial vineyard property in 1975 (following The Godfather: Part II) and in 2011 merged the Niebaum-Coppola and Inglenook wineries under the ‘Rubicon Estate’ title. Those wines are names after his only daughter. She now has her name on sparkling wine in hot pink soda cans you drink with a straw. Definitely NOT my cup of tea but I can see the appeal and the obvious target being the younger wine drinkers and clubgoers; ordered by name, easy to hold at a bar and ideal for resort poolsides where glass is a no-no..
The entire line includes a Blanc De Blancs (sparkling made from Chardonnay grapes exclusively), a Riesling, a Rosé, and a Chardonnay. The Blanc De Blancs is available in a bottle or in a pink soda can, sold in a very hip 4-pack packaging (straws included). They all retail for $15 except for the can that you can get for $5 each!
16 – Bob Dylan has been an influential figure in popular music and culture for more than five decades. He is an American musician, singer, songwriter, artist, and a writer. However, the list does not include winemaker. Though he may have an interest in wine (who doesn’t?) his involvement in winemaking is quite limited.
The singer doesn’t particularly “own” the brand nor does he take part in the making of the wine. Back in 2002, he was honored by ‘Planet Waves’, an Italian red wine produced by Fattoria Le Terrazze. Named after Dylan’s 1974 album, the blend of Montepulciano and Merlot is offered in a bottle signed by the singer/songwriter legend. Dylan gave permission for the winery to use his name and album art to create a wine that pays tribute to his 1974 album Planet Waves. The winery’s owner Antonio Terni produced about 415 cases of Planet Waves, 125 of which were exported to the United States, and sold at a price tag of $65 per bottle.
This is the owner’s second honorary wine for Bob Dylan. As a lifelong Dylan fanatic, he spends his free time trailing the singer’s European tours and has produced another wine in homage to his hero, a Montepulciano named Visions Of J ($80 / bottle), after “Visions of Johanna,” a song on Dylan’s 1966 Blonde On Blonde album.