Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union, celebrity power couple on court, stage and crushpad, had a Napa-good time this week when they came to town to blend a new 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon for Wade Cellars, the veteran NBA All-Star's winery partnership with the Pahlmeyer family.
While in the valley, Wade made the most of his trip, checking in on the vineyards where he sources his grapes with Wade Cellars winemaker Jon Keyes. "We spent some time walking the rows, eating grapes off the vine, and discussing vines and vineyards in general," Keyes told Unfiltered. "[Wade] has been super interested in the process from vine to bottle, and he got to experience a lot of it! He even got to drink a birth-year wine, 1982 Cos-d’Estournel."
The jaunt was more than just business for the wine-loving basketball star (or is he more basketball-playing vintner?). Wade and Union—actor, author of memoir We're Going to Need More Wine and herself a sometime cellar-dabbler—also paid visits to other nearby wineries, including Futo, where they took in a leisurely wine-tasting tour, and Failla, where they got put to work. Union showed off her skills at the sorting table, while Wade fulfilled a longtime off-court bucket-list item by stomping some rookie Pinot Noir grapes.
New Hollywood lovebirds Chris Pratt and Katherine Schwarzenegger also hit up and lit up Napa wine country this week on a VIP visit to Rutherford's Round Pond Estate. Pratt (Andy from Parks and Recreation; gruff reluctant hero/dinosaur guy in Jurassic World) and Schwarzenegger (eldest scion in the Terminator/governor line of Schwarzeneggers) tasted wines and snapped some pics with friends and family.
In town for Sunday's Mayor's Gala Benefiting the Leaven, which helps bring after-school mentoring and tutoring programs to low-income neighborhoods, the Schwarzenegger-Pratt posse visited the Napa winery on the recommendation of a friend.
According to Round Pond co-owner Miles MacDonnell, the group kicked off the visit with a toast of Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs, followed by a tasting of a variety of Round Pond offerings, including the Rosato di Nebbiolo, Sauvignon Blanc and “Gravel Series” Scholar's Gate Cabernet Sauvignon. The Guardians of the Galaxy star even tried his hand at sabering a bottle, though the first attempt was, in his words, an "unprecedented failure." (He got it right eventually.)
"They were incredibly gracious guests and an absolute blast to spend time with, not to mention unbelievably sweet with our kids (who were all in awe of Star-Lord)," MacDonnell told Unfiltered. "We are looking forward to their next visit."
Champagne vending machines? How embarrassingly 2017! New York Fashion Week is here again, and while some may have opted for the classic effervescent wine accessory this fall, vodka house Belvedere took advantage of the occasion to unveil a new bottle design that just might rival this season's looks on the runway: a limited-edition get-up with a full sleeve of artwork by Nigerian artist/designer Laolu Senbanjo. (You might recognize his African tribal-style body art from Beyoncé's Grammy-winning Lemonade album-length video.) “When I find a new project, I search to reveal the inner beauty within each subject, and by stripping it down, anything can be my canvas,” Senbanjo told Unfiltered.
At Belvedere’s recent launch party for the new bottle at the Whitney Museum, Unfiltered had an up-close-and-personal view at the artist's many varied canvases—from the bottles on display to the models wearing his motifs. Sales of the Senbanjo-clad Belvedere ($30), will benefit the non-profit (RED) organization that raises money for the Global Fund to help HIV/AIDS relief efforts in Africa. “Before becoming an artist, Laolu was a human rights attorney in Nigeria focusing on AIDS atrocities against women,” Belvedere CEO Rodney Williams told Unfiltered. “We knew right away he’d be the perfect fit due to our shared beliefs.”
Art bottles are one thing, but other quarters of New York Fashion Week aren't exactly known for exhibitions of sensible style. But there's at least one other #lewk from this season's festivities Unfiltered can get behind. Wearing an outfit straight from the designer Brandon Maxwell's runway show, which she had walked in the night before, supermodel Gigi Hadid showed up to Sunday night's Business of Fashion 500 gala sporting a clear plastic purse that seemed to only contain one item: a bottle of sparkling rosé.
No word on what kind of sparker it was, or who made it. (The label reads "Brandon Maxwell Spring Summer 2019," so you know it's part of the outfit, not just a BYO attempt gone wrong.) Here's hoping that Hadid at least shared the contents of her bag with other fashion-forward partygoers, and perhaps that Maxwell can create a custom tote for fellow designer and notorious wineglass "borrower" Rihanna.
If you think you've seen a lot of Australian wine on the airwaves and interwebs lately, you're not crazy. First, Wine Australia tried going viral in the U.S., assisting with a Crocodile Dundee remake/spoof and Late Night segment wooing Amber Ruffin with Moscato and marmite. Now the organization's spendy creatives are training their sights (and a recent $50 million Australian grant for promoting Oz wine) on connecting with China's cool kids, through social media influencers the Chufei Churan twins, Yoni and Joyce, sometimes billed as the "Chinese Kardashians."
For the occasion of Chinese e-commerce platform Tmall's 9.9 Global Wine and Spirits Festival, Yoni and Joyce were flown Down Under to put in the yeowoman's work of showing off Australia's wine wares to their 1 million followers on networks like Weibo (Chinese Instagram/Twitter/Myspace) and Taobao (Chinese eBay/Etsy/… Craigslist?). They hit up locales like the Sydney Fish Market and Koi Dessert Bar to taste everything from Yellow Tail bubbly to St Hugo Coonawarra Cabernet, but a planned tour around vineyards in South Australia had to be scrapped over “extreme weather” concerns, as Wine Australia CEO Andreas Clark explained to Unfiltered via email (it’s not harvesttime down there, at least). “Australian products are so premium,” the pair said in a statement provided to Unfiltered, of the trip. “Everything is such good quality, like the wine, food and even the water—it is so clean.”
While no influencer in the Middle Kingdom has more sway than the government over which wines get big sales and which get you sent to prison, Wine Australia's latest gambit goes well beyond squeezing its products into selfies with internet celebs and koalas: Tmall is an e-commerce outlet of Chinese retail giant Alibaba, which also owns Taobao. Australia sold $806 million US worth of wine in China in the past year, and Alibaba is one of the biggest retailers—and companies, full stop—on the planet. The two parties inked a deal at Vinexpo in May for a campaign to capitalize on "the strong engagement of Chinese consumers in online retail and their growing interest in Australian wine," said Clark. Kangaroos and "Kardashians" may prove to be the beginning of beautiful friendship.
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