Hollywood and Vine isn't just a famous Los Angeles intersection anymore: The celebrity wine industry is booming to the tune of $50 million in the United States alone, according to VICE.
Robert Smiley, director of wine education at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management, said he believes most celebrities who own vineyards do so because "they're wine connoisseurs — or think they are." He said they usually fall into two categories: those who establish their own wineries and those who contract with an established winery to market a wine produced to their specifications. So which celebrities own vineyards?
Francis Ford Coppola
Perhaps the first celebrity to really make a name as a vintner was Francis Ford Coppola. The Oscar-winning director of "The Godfather" trilogy established his wine estate in 1975 in Geyserville, California. Coppola said he takes winemaking seriously, saying, "Winemaking and filmmaking are two of California's greatest art forms." His estate produces more than 40 types of wine and operates tastings, a restaurant and swimming pools.
Another Hollywood notable who owns a California vineyard is Drew Barrymore. Her Carmel Road Winery, committed to sustainability, is located near Monterey, California, in the Salinas Valley. Caramel Road creates chardonnay, pinot noir and riesling, all of which capture the essence of the ideal terroir for grape harvests.
Another well-known figure with a popular winery is Raymond Burr, famous from the TV show "Perry Mason." In 1986, Burr and his partner, Robert Benevides, planted a 14-acre vineyard with cabernet sauvignon grapes in Sonoma County. Although the actor died in 1993, Benevides has nurtured the vines ever since.
Fess Parker, known for his roles as Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone, purchased a 714-acre ranch in Foxen Canyon in 1988, where he had planned to run cattle, plant a few grapes to sell to other vintners and establish a small winery. It has since grown into the award-winning Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard, which is still thriving five years after Parker's death. Oenophiles can visit the winery and tasting room — loosely designed after an Australian sheep station — and stay in the estate's boutique inn. If you've seen the movie "Sideways," you may remember the dump bucket scene, which was filmed at Parker's winery and vineyard (the name was changed to "Frass Canyon" for purposes of the film).
Other Celebrity Vineyards
The list of which celebrities own vineyards has grown to include non-Hollywood names, as well. The industry now features many athletes and sports figures, including David Beckham, who bought his wife, Victoria Beckham, a winery as a birthday present. Former NFL coach and restaurateur Mike Ditka partnered with his friend, Bill Terlato, to found Terlato Wines in Napa Valley. Some of Ditka's vintages include "The Coach" cabernet sauvignon, "The Player" merlot, "The Hall of Famer" chardonnay and "The Champion" coach's blend.
Mario Andretti, the Formula One legend, founded his self-named winery in Napa Valley in 1996. The 53-acre estate offers award-winning varietals and racing history infused with Italian flavor. Its tasting room is very popular with visitors.
The list goes on, from NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon to NFL Coach Dick Cermeil, golf superstar Arnold Palmer and former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. These are just vineyard-owners in California; many others, such as Sting, Olivia Newton-John, Greg Norman, Sam Neill, Brad Pitt and Angelia Jolie, have added "vintner" to their resumes with vineyards of their own around the world.
In some cases, you don't even have to own a vineyard to be known for your wine. Since 1985, Napa's Marilyn Wines has produced award-winning wines that pay tribute to screen icon Marilyn Monroe. Some of its vintages include Marilyn Merlot, Norma Jeane, Marilyn Sauvignon Blonde and Marilyn Red Dress.
While some are admittedly better stars when it comes to producing wine, if you find yourself in California or other wine-producing regions around the world — or if learning more about wine and how to pair it with food is on your to-do list — make a point of trying wine from your favorite celebrity.
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