Music heartthrob Jon Bon Jovi and son Jesse Bongiovi were surrounded by family and friends at Harriet’s Rooftop at the Jeremy Hotel last week when they introduced the first sip of their premium rosé label, Hampton Water, to Los Angeles. In its first year, Hampton Water received a 90-point rating and was named the top-ranked rosé in the world in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines. Miley Cyrus attended the event dressed as her Hannah Montana alter ego and Dakota Fanning toasted the L.A. launch with a gaggle of girlfriends.
“Last year, when we initially launched the wine, it was the worst growing year in 10 years in the South of France,” Bongiovi told L.A. Weekly as the sun set on the intimate gathering on Harriet’s Rooftop. “Our vintner, Gerard Bertrand, was excited but warned us that they had never had such bad weather. We ended up getting a 90-point rating and were the first rosé in the top 100 in Wine Spectator. This year we went back to harvest and Gerard tell us it’s the best year they’ve had in 25 years. Last year’s wine was good but this one’s going to be even better. We’re off to a good start.”
Bongiovi says that rosé has long been referred to as the water of the Hamptons and that it flowed freely for years in his Italian household. Legend has it, in fact, that due to his love of rosé, Bon Jovi has been credited with importing the first bottles to the United States from the South of France.
After a summer of drinking rosé in the Long Island playground, Bongiovi (a football player) and his college roommate (a hockey player), both in their early 20s, decided at 2 a.m. one morning that wine was their future.
“The next morning we kept bugging my dad about it,” says the young Hamptonite. “‘Hey, you guys figure it out, I have a day job,’ he said. So we spent the next six months working on it while at school, hitting up liquor store owners and restaurant owners, wine distributors, importers, anybody that would give us a road map of how to do it. Six months later we came back to my dad with a label design and a business plan. He fell in love with it all over again and saw that we were serious. We were introduced to Gerard, who loved the idea so much, he wanted to partner with us. We’ve been criss-crossing the globe ever since, getting the word out.”
Bongiovi, who is very hands-on in the business, even if it means delivering boxes of bottles and selling to supermarkets, says Hampton Water will be available at select Pavilions, Craig’s and Avra restaurants and the Beverly Wilshire Hotel to start. It also can be ordered through Southern Wine & Spirits.
Aside from describing Hampton Water as crisp and delicate, the young entrepreneur says if the wine were a song, it would likely be “Bed of Roses.” The grape doesn’t fall far from the vine.