- Madeleine Marr Miami Herald
This father-and-son duo has nothing to do with music, but wine.
Rock icon Jon Bon Jovi, his 23-year-old son Jesse Bongiovi and French winemaker Gérard Bertrand were in Miami for the South Beach Wine & Food Festival to launch their new rosé wine, Diving into Hampton Water.
The three met at Casa Casuarina last Friday afternoon, showing off the elegant bottles filled with the pink elixir. It’s a mix of Grenache, Cinsault and Mourvèdre grape varieties.
So what did Bon Jovi know about wine before starting this venture?
“Nothing. Not a thing,” admitted the “Livin’ on a Prayer” singer. “I knew how to consume. I thought you got rosé from mixing red and white together.”
The idea was hatched by Jesse, who enjoyed the family’s summers in East Hampton more than the average beachgoer.
“Something about that beach lifestyle and this wine. It just fits,” he said, adding South Beach has that similar, laid-back vibe.
“This is his baby,” Bon Jovi says of his son. “He pitched me this about 18 months ago, and we took it more seriously around June, when we started thinking, ‘OK, we can do this.’ The conversation deepened quickly.”
The wine had to have dad’s stamp of approval.
“One thing I would never consider is putting my name on a wine that came from a region I wasn’t in love with,” said the New Jersey native. “As my tastes have grown and I’ve traveled the world, I found the French rosés are the best.”
Winemaking is a lot different from music making.
“I mean — Gérard is a second-generation master in the field. We feel like we’re in short pants and a lunch box, going to school. He likes teaching us and sharing his wealth of knowledge.”
JBJ is also overjoyed to be able to work with his son.
“It’s fun. We’re 100 percent committed. It’s the way I go about everything else. I’m all in.”
The feeling is mutual.
“We love wine as a family,” said Jesse, whose mother is Dorothea Hurley, who’s been married to the rocker since 1989.
Holding the event at Gianni Versace’s former mansion seemed appropriate. Bon Jovi and the slain designer go way back. He actually modeled for the Italian fashion house years ago.
“I loved Gianni,” said the rocker, who later gave an acoustic concert out by the iconic pool. “It still breaks my heart what happened here. But I have beautiful memories of him and his family. I feel like a great spiritual blessing. I feel him here. I’m sure Gianni would have loved this wine and even hosted this party. He would have done it his way.”