Vineyards of the Rich and Famous

Celebrities usually have to be good at something, even if that something is knowing how to be famous for being famous.

And we, the audience, love a collab, a cross over, an endorsement, a chance to experience a little sliver of all that glitters. It’s unsurprising then, that the alcohol industry is lousy with products—from tequila to rose (actually it seems to be mostly tequila and rose)—that have a celebrity’s name attached. Why this tickles me so, I don’t know. It is actually a fairly logical thing for a cashed-up celeb to make (or oversee and put their name on), but there is something very amusing about Drew Barrymore trying to convince anyone to buy her wine. I have taken it upon myself to review some of these (mostly pink) grape products, so you don’t have to try them. But you can, if you like, because it’s funny.

Barrymore Wines Pinot Noir Rose made by Kris Kato at Carmel Road Winery

In 2017, Drew filmed a ‘how-to’ for Vogue (that still lives rent-free in my head) where she explains that rose is ‘where you peel the skins off the grapes earlier,’ which is just categorically incorrect—no one PEELS GRAPES to make wine. There are a few ways to make a rose wine, but what I hope Drew meant is a short skin maceration ‘direct press’ style of production, where the red skin grapes are pressed earlier than they would be for red wine, resulting in the pale pink colour and light texture that is so popular. It’s not a terrible wine, easy to drink but lacking in the personality Drew has in spades.

Kylie Rosé by Kylie Minogue (winemakers are not specified by name)

When you’re reading about celebrity wines, they use the word ‘sourced’ a lot in reference to the grapes, meaning that these celebrities are not owners of the vineyards, nor do they grow the grapes and sometimes just buy pre-made wine outright from well-established winemakers. The grapes for our Kylie’s rose come from southern France, specifically Languedoc and Provence. A voluptuous bottle filled with a pale pink liquid that comes with tasting notes like ‘alluring,’ ‘zesty’ and ‘watermelon,’ this is the kind of rose I wouldn’t hesitate to throw into a blender with some ice after getting physical. She’s recently partnered with two Australian winemakers to add to her portfolio, but I’d be more into an athleisure wear label collab with Ken Done.

Two Paddocks Pinot Noir owned by Sam Neill, made by Dean Shaw

Kiwi actor Sam Neill is the owner of this Central Otago vineyard, and has been since 1993 (the year Jurassic Park came out). As Neill is a busy actor (as well he should be), there are farmers who tend to his vines, and also his saffron, lavender, orchards, and animals. Biodiversity is really good for healthy produce. Certified organic and, although Neill’s personal opinions about ‘natural wine’ are really confusing (he takes the ‘there is nothing unnatural about wine’ stance), his wines are made with care and thoughtfulness. The pinots, while expensive, are deep, spicy, herbal, savoury, elegant, and the kind of pinot your dad would like. Crack one and pair with a rewatch of Hunt for the Wilderpeople for ultimate satisfaction.


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Avaline by Cameron Diaz and Katherine Power (winemakers are not specified by name)

Avaline, which sounds more like a contact lens cleaning solution (or something said in a pub bathroom—ed) is a wine label from actor Cameron Diaz and her fashionable mate Katherine Power. A so-called ‘clean wines’—a divisive term in the wine industry—the idea here is to be transparent about the winemaking process at every level, from organic and biodynamic vineyard processes to winemaking with minimal additions and intervention. While they do seem to overdo it by stating ‘no added sugars, colours or concentrates’ on the label (which even conventionally manipulated wines shouldn’t have), they are pretty, easy-drinking, entry-level wines with simple, aesthetically pleasing and (albeit overly) informative labels, these wines are highly likely to start appearing on Instagram feeds yesterday.


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Pursued by Bear by Kyle McLachlan and Daniel Wampfler

A wine made in America’s Washington State (where McLachlan grew up), Pursued by Bear is a reference to Shakespeare’s most cooked stage direction from The Winter Tale: ‘Exit, pursued by a bear’. Just like his mixture of self-awareness and playful theatricality, McLachlan’s wines are rich and complex but deeply enjoyable; and while he wanted to have a hands-on approach from the vineyard to the winery, he’s also employed professional vintners to ensure the wines justify their boujee price tags. Enjoying the damn fine things is just Dale Cooper’s lot in life, it seems. It can be difficult to get your paws on a bottle outside of the USA, but do yourself a favour and watch Beary Tales on his instagram.


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Las Jaras by Eric Wareheim and Joel Burt

I met Eric at the bottle shop I work at a few years ago, and I was impressed with how tall he is offscreen. I was also impressed with his taste in wine (he let me pick all the bottles), so of course, I must include his wine in this line-up—also because they’re joyful, well-made minimal intervention wines, which ticks all of the boxes for me. Definitely wines for the ‘gram, there’s always a very small amount available in Australia but if you can get some, you’re in for a good time. Wareheim is another celeb who is very hands on in the process of making the wines he slaps his name on, and it pays off because they’re exactly what he would like to drink, and therefore—same.


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