What Do Movie Stars Know About Making Wine?

The lifestyle of the wealthy celebrity inevitably leads to all sorts of investment opportunities. Some Hollywood starlets get into profitable but rather innocuous sidelines, like Jessica Alba with baby products. Others opt for more adult diversions, like wine. Indeed, a diverse array of actors and actresses have gotten heavily into the grape in recent years, ranging from romantic-comedy mainstay Kate Hudson to the adult-film siren Savanna Samson, both of whom have put out their own labels.

The glossy monthly magazine Wine Enthusiast has devoted its entire May issue to exploring this intersection of film and fermentation, featuring interviews with various celebrity vintners, such as Hudson, who also graces its cover. Working in collaboration with Santa Barbara County winemakers Peter and Rebecca Work of Ampelos Cellars, Hudson and her rocker beau, Matt Bellamy of the English emo-electro trio Muse, founded the company Hudson Bellamy Wines in 2011 — a collaboration that Hudson says will continue despite the celebrity couple's recent public split. Notably, Hudson's famous-actor stepfather, Kurt Russell, also dabbles in winemaking.

Why wine? It seems like a very California thing to do. Then again, not every oenophile film star is producing California wine. Actor Kyle MacLachlan, for instance, makes a cabernet in collaboration with Washington state's Dunham Cellars. (Read our previous wine-heavy interview with MacLachlan here.)

It's easy to see what the actors get out of it. Partnering with a winery shows that you, the actor, are more than just some pretty face onscreen. It also lends an air of sophistication to counter whatever lame-ass summer blockbuster you might presently be associated with. Likewise, it makes good sense for the wineries, which benefit from additional name recognition that resonates with regular folks outside the usual connoisseur crowd.

But why should we, the wine-consuming public, put our trust in the palate of some big-name personality from Hollywood, that longstanding bastion of hucksterdom? Acting, like winemaking, is a craft. But they're not the same. To her credit, Hudson says as much in her interview with Wine Enthusiast:

"...what's very different from making movies is that everything in wine is connected to nature. Your grapes can only be as good as your year. That is one of the things that makes it very special and incredibly unique. You are at the mercy of your crop, and I love that."

Then again, they're not entirely different, either, notes Hudson:

"Though, we are telling a story. Every bottle has a story, and when you sit down and drink it, you feel connected to that story."

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