Celebrity wines from the Golden State have reached a milestone in the U.S. marketplace as one out of every 100 bottles of wine sold in U.S. supermarkets is produced by or for the stars in sports or entertainment.
The entry of Trinchero Family Estates that is making Paul Newman’s new line of wines released recently, and E. & J. Gallo’s decision earlier this year to make and market wine under the Martha Stewart label (she is the first lady of culinary TV shows), have suddenly moved the category from its sub-niche market status into the mainstream wine market in the U.S.
Other California wineries that produce wines using the names and images of celebrities are Napa Valley based Nova Wines that makes Marylin Monroe wines, Graceland Cellars that makes Elvis Presley Fourth Edition Blue Suede Shoes Chardonnay and Celebrity Cellars, based in Sonoma, that produces wines for Madonna, The Rolling Stones, Kiss and Celine Dion. A key reason for expanded marketshare of celebrity wines is that celebrities themselves are driving the market by launching more “lifestyle” related products. Madonna’s “wine club” for instance offers two bottles per month at €35 and concert discounts.
For some celebrities, just putting their name of the label is not enough, they want to actually make the wines themselves. Movie producer Francis Ford Coppola has been making award-winning wine in Napa and Sonoma for many years and his “Rubicon” wine has beaten some of the most expensive Bordeaux wines in several blind tastings.
Mario Andretti, the former Formula One champion, is making Cabernet and Zinfandel from his vineyards in Napa Valley. Founding member of Fleetwood Mac, Mick Fleetwood first made a career of blending the right elements in music to fit the taste of his audience, and is now using the same insight with a California wine that already has captured several prestigious awards.
Probably the most famous celebrity in the California wine industry is governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Although he does not make wine himself, he has raised the interest in California wines by declaring the month of September as “California Wine Month”, which means that many wine stores and supermarkets in the U.S. focus on California wine during that month. He and California’s First Lady, Maria Shriver, also appear in a television spot inviting visitors to experience California’s wine and food offerings. A link to this spot is posted on www.california-wines.org