Celebrities today have become brands, looking to expand their presence into every realm—including wine. Wall Street Journal wine columnist Lettie Teague says enough is enough.
1. Celebrities are famous for reasons unrelated to wine. An ability to sing or perform or drive a car very fast has nothing to do with an ability to turn grapes into wine. Have you ever watched a great actor in a play, listened to a talented singer or watched a basketball player race down the court and thought, “I wonder what that person could do with Pinot Noir”? No, you have not—unless you are that celebrity’s agent or own a marketing company.
2. Celebrity wines are almost always overpriced relative to the quality of the wine in the bottle, contributing to shameless price gouging. I call this the “fame tax.” With the name of even a B- or C-list celebrity attached to the label, a perfectly ordinary bottle of wine will cost more than it should. Take, for example the $11 2015 Dreaming Tree Sauvignon Blanc from Dave Matthews I recently bought. Drinkable but unremarkable, it tasted similar to other wines I’ve bought for much less. I have no idea why a talented guy like Dave would want his name on the stuff. Dave Campbell of Red Light Management, the firm that manages Mr. Matthews’ career, said: “Dave wanted to make quality wines accessible to everyone and priced for everyday enjoyment.”
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