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06.02.2004

If your wine was Gerard Depardieu, what would it taste like?

My local grocery store has a special on the newly released J. Garcia wine, named for the late great leader of the Grateful Dead. They've even decorated the bottle with one of his paintings. The fastest appreciating wine produced at the Napa Wine Company each year is the Marilyn Merlot, featuring the (also late) actress in a different pose each year and while current releases are about $25, the 1985 goes for $3,500 a bottle these days.

What is it with celebrity and wine? Become a big name star and either you've got a wine named after you, or you're starting a winery yourself. Francis Ford Coppola. A sparkling wine named Sophia. Get it? Well now you can even get it in a can. He's probably to blame for the whole thing, getting in as early as he did.

The New York Post reports recently that several new celebrity wines will be in the offing in the next few months from such luminaries as Bob Dylan, Carole Bouquet, Gerard Depardieu, Boz Skaggs, which will join wines already on the market from Robin Williams to Sting to Alex Trebek. I'll take "Ways to Spend Your Celebrity Money" for $3 Million please, Alex.

Of course I've got nothing against all of this winemaking and wine labeling. Heck, I'd love to have the money to open a winery and I'd probably put my name on the label as long as people wouldn't confuse me with Alderbrook. But we know a lot more about celebrities than anyone would know about me. We've seen them laugh, love, adventure, and pour their hearts out on the screen or over the airwaves. Those things cannot help but make an impression on us and shape our perception of a wine, which, I suppose is the whole darn marketing idea. But it begs the question, what about those celebrities who we've seen drag their bulky frame grunting and sweating through immigration offices, angst filled country menage a trois, and stinking sea-soaked voyages?

Maybe he can leave the photo off the label.

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