Wine Stars: Jon Bon Jovi and Jesse Bongiovi

Rock star and son make a serious rosé and still dig the music

Wine Stars: Jon Bon Jovi and Jesse Bongiovi
Jesse Bongiovi recruited his famous father as a part-time "employee" in a now-booming family wine project. (Rick Wenner)
Oct 27, 2021

Famed rocker Jon Bon Jovi and son Jesse Bongiovi made a return engagement to the Wine Experience to talk about their latest wine release, Hampton Water Languedoc Rosé 2020 (90 points, $23), along with their family’s extensive charity work addressing the problems of hunger and homelessness. And of course, there was time enough for a song.

“We’re in the company of many great vintners,” Bon Jovi told the audience, adding that they were humbled by the friendship that other members of the wine business have bestowed upon them. The singer and songwriter, known for such hits as “You Give Love a Bad Name” and “Livin’ on a Prayer,” half-jokingly calls himself “an employee of my son,” who is the driving force behind Hampton Water, along with his friend Ali Thomas. The wine’s name comes from a quip from Bongiovi that rosé, a favorite drink of his dad, is in fact the water of the Hamptons, where the family has a home.

Together, they have produced four vintages of Hampton Water with Gérard Bertrand, a trailblazing winemaker in France’s Languedoc region, and all four have received outstanding ratings. They poured their first release, a 2017, during a Wine Experience seminar in 2018. The 2020 blend is 60 percent Grenache, with near-equal parts of Cinsault, Mourvèdre and Syrah, and about 20 percent was aged in new French oak to provide structure.

“We wanted to create something that captured the times we cherished the most,” said Bongiovi, who spent time in southern France with his dad and Bertrand to work on blending and learn about harvesting and winemaking. “And we realized we created a unique blend.”

Bertrand agreed, saying in a video, “As soon as we met, we were aligned on the vision,” Bertrand said in a video. “We want to reveal the soul from the South of France coming from the berries to fit perfectly with the lifestyle of the Hamptons.”

Contrasting that Hampton lifestyle is the philanthropy work Bon Jovi and his wife, Dorothea Hurley, do to address homelessness and food insecurity. JBJ Soul Foundation has helped build more than 700 units of affordable housing across 11 states and has served more than 100,000 meals from its three community restaurants.

Wrapping up their moment as Wine Stars, Bon Jovi performed a recent song, “Do What You Can,” on acoustic guitar. The song pays tribute to the efforts of frontline workers and everyday people working to get through the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more about Jon Bon Jovi and Hampton Water, read our Oct. 31, 2021, issue cover story, It’s His Life and watch our 2018 video interview with father and son.

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