It is by no means new news that famous actors own their own wineries and vineyards, however it is something that is grabbing more attention. Going back to Roman Times many people of power had their own wineries for their own use. There are lots of reasons why now celebrities are also jumping on board with their income and the investment possibilities.
As with all businesses, opening your own winery is able to give tax benefits. Cliff Richard who is known to be a lifelong enthusiast among others entered the industry to do something that he enjoys. For others it is starting a new venture and for others it is just the fact that they are able to.
Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp and even David and Victoria Beckham have their own wineries but only for their own use. Others use their recognition in the public eye to use as a means to sell more produce. It’s a business that can prove lucrative and studies showed that over the past few years celebrity wine sales went up by around 20%.
The wineries owned by celebrities don’t always involve the active participation in the making of the wine. The majority of them have partners that already have an established business rather than starting out on their own into a business they know nothing about. Sbragia a winemaker partnered with ex-football player Montana. Although Montana is the one who has the vision and taste tests it is mainly Sbragia who controls the production side of things.
Some of the celebrities have their own brand which has been made by a winery they collaborate with rather than having the estate and business themselves to help boost sales. They would be seen more as a brand than actual owners; however both are becoming increasingly popular. One French actor Depardieu is one of few that is active in both producing and the business side of the wineries he owns in numerous countries around the world. His passport even lists his occupation as being vigneron.
Some celebrities have what is known as a legacy attachment when the wine is made in their name. Fred MacMurray once owned one such winery which is now used mainly to rear horses. Once he died the winery was sold on and the family have very little connection to the brand created there. Raymond Burr is another that bought a winery before passing away in the early 90’s. After death the estate was renamed after him and wine continues to be sold in his memory.
There is another kind of celebrity who is happy to have their name used for a certain onetime deal. In this case it is mainly about the royalties received rather than them partaking in the production and/or sales side of things.
Bob Dylan and extremely well known musician had an arrangement similar and he gave permission for the art and names to feature him. The actual wine art is based on one of his albums from 1974 ‘Planet Waves’. Another celebrity who did similar is Martha Stewart and even Gordon Ramsey although he didn’t have royalties. It was as a celebration to a 10 year vintage batch.