From Narbonne to the US of A with Jon Bon Jovi

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The co-founders behind a new wine label called Hampton Water owe it all to Château l’Hospitalet near Narbonne run by Gérard Bertrand.

Gérard Bertrand

You may have read about Gérard Bertrand here in an article by Rosemary George, Master of Wine, and here in an article by Peter Gorley, author of e-Guide The Wines & Winemakers of Languedoc-Roussillon.

Jesse Bongiovi, Jon Bon Jovi’s son, together with Jesse’s former collage roommate, have teamed up with the noted vintner to create Hampton Water.

Bongiovi had said they knew they wanted a rosé wine from the south of France, and they hit it off with Bertrand who they met through a mutual friend.

Wine Spectator doled out a 90-point rating for the wine, which is made of Grenache, Cinsault and Mourvèdre grapes. The new wine hit shelves just a year ago, and it was named among the publication’s Top 100 Wines.  The publication said this about it:

“A nicely crafted rosé, with a hint of creamy richness lining the strawberry, melon and white cherry flavours. A dash of minerality imparts depth through the long, mouthwatering finish. A crowd-pleaser. Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvèdre and Syrah.”

But the story behind the label is a bit older than that — and it involves daddy, Jon Bon Jovi.

John Bon Jovi was in the Hamptons with Jesse and Ali late one night. He offered the two “pink juice,” and the friends immediately rattled off the name.

“We’re sitting in the Hamptons. You’re drinking ‘Hampton Water,'” Bongiovi told him, referencing an ongoing joke that rosé is the water of the Hamptons.

Jon Bon Jovi with Dallas Cowboys Chief Brand Officer, and Jesse Bongiovi

Bon Jovi lit up when he heard the term “Hampton Water” and asked the two if they could imagine if someone put that on a bottle, Bongiovi told an interviewer at a launch in Dallas last week.

So, they looked into what exactly would make that possible.

“We spent the next six months literally meeting with anyone who would have a meeting with us — from restaurant owners to liquor store owners to sommeliers to winemakers to wine importers to distributors to marketing people to guys that helped launch Red Bull,” said Bongiovi.

Bongiovi and Thomas put together the brand: They designed a label and a bottle and they came up with a marketing strategy.

“We brought it back to my dad six months later,” said Bongiovi. “We asked him, ‘Hey, remember that thing that we wanted to talk to you about? This is it. What do you think?'”

Since then, Hampton Water has landed in 12 states with seven more in the works.

“We knew that having my dad attached to it would bring a certain amount of notoriety, and in five years from now I’m hoping that [the wine] is everywhere. We were in 12 states initially and have had demand all over the country. This is kind of our launch into the West Coast. I think that the rosé category is growing like crazy. If we can become a small staple of that category, I think we’ve done a pretty good job. To achieve what we have in the first year just shows that the runway is long. We’ve got a long way to go but we’re off to a good start.”