Tipsy Traveler: Rosé All Day, the Bon Jovi Way
Story :: Veronica Meewes + Pix :: Marianne Fabre-Lanvin
When you get invited to a party at the Versace Mansion to celebrate the launch of Bon Jovi’s new wine, you say yes. And that's just how I found myself at the edge of Villa Casa Casuarina’s pool while Miami's Aqualilies team dazzled us with a splashy synchronized swimming routine. At the pool’s center was a grand ice sculpture depicting the bottle's logo: a diver executing a perfect downward plunge. The South Beach Wine & Food Festival had already kicked off and, though this wasn’t an official part of the fest, it was undoubtedly the hottest ticket in town that Friday night.
Vacationing together in the Hamptons, where the rosé flows like water, is what inspired Jon Bon Jovi and his 23-year-old son Jesse Bongiovi to create a wine together. The two partnered with world renowned biodynamic winemaker Gérard Bertrand to craft Diving Into Hampton Water, a blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Mourvèdre grapes from the South of France's Languedoc-Rousillion region. The barely blushing result is crisp and refreshing — wild strawberries with a bone dry, mineral-rich finish— the kind of wine you’ll want to drink all summer long while lounging poolside.
"I'm very familiar with Gérard Bertrand’s wines, as someone who’s drank a whole lot of them,” Bon Jovi told the excited crowd between songs (yes, including an acoustic version of Livin’ On a Prayer). “I don’t have a problem— I just happen to be very good at it!”
“You don't need to drink wine every day,” Bertrand later adds. “But if you do, you’ll feel better.”
Bertrand may live thousands of miles from the Hamptons, but he is no stranger to the languid seaside life: his wine estate is just several kilometers from the French Mediterranean. He’s also a major music lover, and opens up Chateau l’Hospitalet each summer for a rolicking jazz festival. And while Bongiovi played football for Notre Dame, Bertrand was a successful rugby player with RC Narbonne. He too worked alongside his father— until Georges Bertrand’s untimely death forced his son to take over winery operations at the young age of 22 (and he went on to play rugby and grow wine for the next seven years).
“People say a band is like family and that’s true— but it's an honor to work alongside my son,” Bon Jovi said, joking that Bongiovi was, for the first time ever, his boss.
“For us, rosé is something that brings people together and we wanted to share that feeling of the perfect Hamptons day,” said Bongiovi. “When you drink Hampton Water, you’re immediately brought right back to so many amazing times with friends and family.”
After bearing witness to the rock legend's captivating set, which ended with a surprising cover of Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles, guests continued to stroll around the courtyard and mingle, noshing on crab legs and sliced steak drizzled with chimichurri. When we drank through the remainder of the rosé, we switched to Château de Villemajou Grand Vin White, a Roussane, Marsanne and Vermentino blend which drank like freshly picked Languedoc herbs and wildflowers with a touch of marzipan.
Those who ventured toward a rotunda in the far corner were rewarded with a spread of truffles and Bertrand’s ruby red Banyuls. Others ventured inside to admire the gilded villa’s fountains, statues and frescoes. Only when the sky opened up and rain started to steadily pour down on us did we hurriedly whisk away — some to a SBWFF tiki cocktail competition, some to visit the wine angels at Cibo Wine Bar and some to Miami’s famous seven level gay club, Twist. It was Friday night in South Beach and the night was young.
Bertrand said it best: “Sometimes wine is a social drink and sometimes it’s an emotional drink. That’s why rosé is important— because it brings people together.”