When Degrassi and Vampire Diaries star Nina Dobrev and best friend Julianne Hough (Dancing with the Stars) decided to create their own wine label, they knew they wanted to market it to wine lovers who enjoyed active, health-conscious lifestyles similar to their own. Their new label, Fresh Vine Wine, follows in the celebrity wellness-space marketing path paved in 2020 by Cameron Diaz’s Avaline brand.
"I am Eastern European, so tasting wine as a late teenager was acceptable in my family," Bulgaria-born Dobrev, who grew up in Canada, told Wine Spectator via email. "From an early age my palate started forming, but it wasn’t until Julianne and I started this venture that we really started to learn more about wines, and the process of making them, and the joy of making them." She’s preceded in the on-screen vampire–turned-vintner space by Diaries co-star Ian Somerhalder; Discovery of Witches lead vamp Matthew Goode (formerly of Downton Abbey) co-hosted The Wine Show docuseries with actor Matthew Rhys.
Growing up in Utah, Hough's passion for wine started later in life, thanks to visits to Tuscany and Napa. As the idea to start a wine label took shape a few years ago, Dobrev and Hough decided to focus on Napa because of their familiarity with the region. The longtime pals partnered with winemaker Jamey Whetstone for the project, who previously held posts at Turley and Domaine Dujac and has his own Napa winery.
"There is something extremely exhilarating about crafting and creating art, and I think about wine the same way," Hough said. "We just didn’t know the 'how' to go about making it, and that’s why Nina and I decided to partner up with Jamey and our Fresh Vine team."
Like many wines, the Fresh Vines lineup is gluten-free and vegan friendly, but Dobrev says they went the extra step of having the wines certified as such by ETS Laboratories, an independent analysis company serving the wine and spirits industry.
The Fresh Vine lineup includes a 2018 California Chardonnay ($18), 2018 California Pinot Noir ($19) and 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon ($22). There’s also a rosé coming in the next few month and a Napa Cabernet Limited Reserve ($80) set to be released in the fall.
“[Nina and I] lead very active and physical lifestyles, with a holistic approach, so we wanted to make a product that not only complemented our lives but was also still of premium quality and impeccable taste,” Hough said in a statement. “If we learned anything from the experience of living through the year 2020, it was that connection and celebrating the small things in life are so incredibly important to the emotional, mental and physical well-being of humankind.” It goes without saying that these are all incredibly important for vampirekind as well.
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