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Blog: Hollywood does it-should Bollywood stay Behind?

Posted: Friday, 08 March 2013 14:06

Blog: Hollywood does it-should Bollywood stay Behind?

Mar 08 : As anyone might have predicted, the first tranche of 500 cases of Miraval Provence Rose made at the French vineyard owned by Hollywood stars Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt was sold out yesterday within a few hours after the sale went online, demonstrating the celebrity power which ought to be exploited by Bollywood stars as well, paving way for a new set of wine drinkers giving a boost to wine culture

The print and online media had gone viral reporting about the proposed sale earlier this week. With the huge demand, obviously due to the celebrity drawing power (case of 6 bottles selling at  € 17.50 a bottle may be certainly considered premium for a Provence Rose), Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have already become star producers. The orders for the 2012 vintage are now closed, though about 8,500 cases are reported to have been supplied to restaurants and wine shops.

The wine was made at the 500 hA estate near Brignoles in South of France that the couple had purchased in 2008 for € 40 million and use as their summer home. It came with over 20 hA of vines that were being used to make wines with labels like Pink Floyd. The couple have partnered with the well-known winemaking Perrin family to develop Miraval Cotes de Provence, the name of their Chateau Miraval estate.

It is a known fact that movie stars with a passion for wine have been frequently drawn to buy estates to produce wine. With the internet, the information is now more easily available. The well-known Anglo-Indian singer now living in London, Sir Cliff Richard bought an estate almost two decades ago in Algarve, Portugal. The list of celebrity winemakers includes Sting, Madonna, Gerard Depardieu, Madonna, Drew Barrymore, Dan Akroyd, and Antonio Banderas.

Sports personalities like David Beckham, Ernie Els, Nick Faldo, Greg Norman, Arnold Palmer, and Michael Schumacher also got the bug to invest their money into passion. Last week, the rapper Jay- Z and his partner, the well-known R & B singer Beyonce announced that they are bidding to buy the Neverland Ranch of the late Michael Jackson to turn it into a vineyard and winery.

But the crown for being the celebrity wine producer goes to the well-known filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola who bought the famous Napa Valley Inglenook winery I had visited last year. Although he could not buy the rights to the historical brand Inglenook and settled for his own Rubicon Estate in his first attempt, he finally managed to buy the brand a few months ago. He ploughed all the receipts from The Godfather into buying the winery. He also owns another winery in Sonoma County and though he is still involved with the movie business in a smaller way, he has shifted residence to the winery in Napa and is a name to reckon with.

It is a pity that no movie star from Bollywood or sports has had enough passion to plunge into the winemaking business. Today celebrity-owned wineries can be lucrative business ventures at least in Hollywood. In 2007, a research of supermarket wine sales showed an increase of 19% over previous years. In India, it could be even more. Even lending a name to certain labels could do wonders for the royalties. Wineries like Sula, Four Seasons and Grover with facilities could offer the bottling, labeling or producing services and even create special wine labels.

Interestingly, the well-known UK wine journalist, Robert Joseph during one of his frequent trips to India had met a Bollywood star, whose name he thought was a Khan. A great connoisseur and wine aficionado, the star agreed that his endorsement could possibly be a good business opportunity and a boost for the wine culture, but his community would socially ostracize him if he admitted in public his love for drinking wine.

But it is high time for the Bollywood stars to collaborate with the wine industry most of which is in Maharashtra, a driving distance from the capital, Mumbai. Alternately, the stars could be wooed to lend their names for superior quality wines. Something to ponder with your next glass of wine.

Subhash Arora

Tags: Chateau Miraval, Algarve, Inglenook, Sonoma, Napa


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