There's an old saying that if you want to make $1 million dollars in the winemaking business, it's easy -- just start with $4 million! That may not be entirely true; you're probably more likely to end up with nothing, but that's another story.
Well, it is certainly easier to get into this risky and difficult business if you are flush with cash, and that is seeing an increasingly large number of celebrity-owned wine brands. We've previously taken a look at some of the great sporting figures of the gridiron and racecar world, but today I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the great music industry names that are now proudly, and successfully I might add, making wine.
It's not very surprisingly to see that many in the entertainment, and particularly the music, industry have branched out into winemaking. Seems like as people get a bit older, and a bit slower, they might want to replace a bowl of brown M&Ms and a fifth of Johnnie Walker Black with something a bit easy on the system. So, without further ado, here are five of our favorite music industry winemakers.
B.R. Cohn Bruce Cohn might be well known as the manager of the Doobie Brothers, but this Sonoma County local boy was also part of the wine revolution that overtook northern California beginning in the late 1970s. Bruce not only purchased vineyard land as early as 1974 -- selling off fruit to well known wineries, such as Sebastiani, Gundlach Bundschu and Ravenswood, before making his own wine -- but he also gave a legend her start. After founding the winery in 1984, Bruce hired the then-unknown winemaker Helen Turley, an undisputed winemaking star of our day. If I was a gambling man I'd be betting on Bruce Cohn. B.R. Cohn is famous for its Olive Hill Cabernet and its eponymous olive grove.
Il Cantante Mick was the lead singer of the wildly successful British band Simply Red. Somehow this flame-haired singer got hooked up in one of the hottest wine scenes on the planet. Nick's wine, Il Cantante ("the singer" in Italian), is made by winemaker Salvo Foti. Foti is one of the great winemakers working in Sicily today and, in particular, he has worked tirelessly to reveal the riches of the old vines of Etna. Il Cantante makes classic Sicilian wines from Nero d'Avola, Nerello Mascalese, Grecanico and Carricante.
Koala Blue In 1983, Olivia Newton-John and her friend Pat Farrar founded Koala Blue, a boutique winery that admittedly has not received much publicity but that seems like the plan. I guess the decades of fame Olivia earned as both a singer and an actress set her up well for a simpler life. Now, I'm not sure if that's the truth or not, but I figure Olivia's enriched my life enough already -- after all, Billboard magazine did name "Physical" the sexiest song of all time! Koala Blue produces both Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon from the Padthaway region of South Australia.
Ciccone Vineyards If Olivia Newton-John didn%u2019t need any intro, Madonna (born Madonna Louise Ciccone) should be self-explanatory. Madonna set up her father with the home-state Ciccione Vineyards back in 1995. Maybe it was a hedge against the fading of success. Seeing as Madonna's star hasn't faded too much, it's not surprising to see that she hasn%u2019t really played an important role at the winery. I'm not exactly sure what kind of wines they're making but I can only wonder if they embarrass their parents and make adults blush.
Mumm Santana DVX Carlos Augusto Alves Santana was one of the most influential guitarists of the 1960s, 1970s, maybe not so much in the 1980s, but more so in the 1990s, and even today his signature sound continues to wow audiences. In cooperation with Mumm Napa Valley, Carlos parlayed his fame into a hugely successful sparkling wine: Santana DVX. Mumm no longer makes the Santana DVX wine, since they%u2019ve replaced it with a more affordable Santana Brut. That still sells out each year even though it's produced in numbers far greater that the seminal DVX. A portion of the proceeds of each bottle of Santana Brut are donated to Carlos' Milagro Foundation. The Milagro Foundation benefits underserved and vulnerable children around the world by making grants to community-based tax-exempt organizations that work with children in the areas of education, health and the arts. Rock on, Carlos!
Caduceus Maynard James Keenan, the lead singer for the metal band Tool, seems like an unlikely fellow to be making wine -- which comes in handy, since he is making unlikely wines! Unlike so many of his famous counterparts, Maynard (born James Herbert Keenan) has opted for an emerging wine region, if that's what you can call them. More like germinating wine regions. I'm talking Arizona, folks -- not the first place the mind goes when talk turns to vintage vino. But Maynard is making a name for himself with wines like his Cochise County Sangiovese Grosso or Tempranillo with a splash of Grenache. Some wines began with some California juice in them and have since moved to 100% Arizona goodness, though a few bottlings are still coming from California AVAs.
Have you tried any of these wines? Do you know of any other wines that have come from those in the music industry? Share in the comments...Related Articles:
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