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Material Girl Launches Wine Labels


The high priestess of re-invention is back in the headlines. Madonna, the pop icon, has released a range of Californian wines called Chateau Madge, the brainchild of Marty Erlichman, a veteran Hollywood celebrity manager.

Madonna's lucrative licensing deal that promises to alter the way that wine is sold to the public, reports The Independent 's Online Edition.

The wine label is 'Confessions', inspired by the name of the 47-year-old diva's new album, Confessions on a Dance Floor . The bottles are adorned with a choice of two pictures of the singer as she appears in the music video currently topping charts worldwide. Madonna's wine offerings include a Pinot Grigio, a Barbera, a Cabernet Sauvignon and a non-alcoholic 'Un-wine'. Priced from US$25 for a bottle of 'Un-wine' to $40 for the Cabernet Sauvignon, the wines are expected to sell out within days, say The Independent 's Tom Anderson and Andrew Gumbel. The wine trade is a new departure for Madonna. But back in 1995 her father, Tony Ciccone, established a vineyard in Michigan, a venture his daughter supported with a US$1.5 million gift. Erlichman's job is managing the appearances of Barbra Streisand. His first attempt to create a celebrity wine product line, 'Dead Red', linked to The Grateful Dead, was initially thwarted when the lead singer, Jerry Garcia, died in a rehab clinic. Erlichman's company, Celebrity Cellars, founded in 1997, produced a non-alcoholic wine in Garcia's honour. Erlichman followed with labels devoted to Frank Sinatra, Streisand, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones. "We're not selling what's inside the bottle, but what's outside the bottle," he said, adding that only around one in five buyers of his celeb wines actually drink them. Cricket stars, too, are getting into the wine business. England's Ian Botham has launched an Australian wine with Bob Willis. It became UK supermarket chain Tesco's fastest-ever selling wine. There's a good side to celebrity wines -- it does attract more people. "If it's a celebrity, then that's one way of bringing people to wine ... in some ways it's no different from the millions of brands that the supermarkets invent," Matt Skinner, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's sommelier, told The Independent.

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