Jon Bon Jovi is no longer that young man with the long (and, at the time, scandalous) bouffant blond hair and provocative poses that he adorned, thanks to the posters of the super pop, the portfolios of the adolescents —and not so adolescents— of the 80s and 90s. Now he is a man with short gray hair and impeccable manners who, together with the second of his four children, Jesse Bongiovi, promotes wine. Pink. In France. Of the bed of roses from 1992 to rose in 2022. And, always, without complexes.
the veteran rocker, actor and philanthropist from New Jersey (USA) has reinvented itself, at 60 years old, once again. Now he puts his money and prestige in favor of a wine produced “as a family” for which he displays the same energy with which he has spent decades dedicated to music and with which he also hopes to reap many successes. Doesn’t seem to be going down the wrong path: Hampton Water, the rose or “pink juice” —as Bon Jovi called, when his children were small, the rosé wine he claims he was always fond of— has achieved high marks in specialized magazines in the almost five years that this family “adventure” has already lasted.
The rose created together with his son and with the help of the renowned French viticulturist Gérard Bertrand (he places his vineyards in the Languedoc, in the south of France, and his savoir-faire; the Bongiovi provide the desire, the money and the famous name) is already distributed throughout the United States and is beginning to gain strength in Europe, the next big market to conquer.
And for that, of course, Bon Jovi lends himself, once again, to unfold his famous smile for a presentation in Paris with the ever-imposing Eiffel Tower in the background under a sparkling blue sky, on a hot May afternoon. Perfect, say the Bongiovi, to open one (there will be many) of the bottles recognizable by the label of an elegant swimmer immersing herself in the sea that symbolizes, explains Jesse, 27, to EL PAÍS, the “Hamptons spirit: friends, family and beautiful days, all enhanced by a delicious bottle of rose” (said in French with an American accent).
In a way, this wine is a metaphor for Bon Jovi himself. This is no longer the young man born in 1962 in New Jersey, the son of a hairdresser and one of the first bunnies from Playboy. A young man wanting to take on the world who scrubbed the floors of his cousin’s recording studio to earn a few dollars and an opportunity in the world of music.
The author of hits like Livin’ On a Prayer either run away vindicates its roots: remember that, with his longtime wife, Dorothea Hurley, has had and raised her children in New Jersey. But summers were spent in the Hamptons, the exclusive beach retreat of the rich and famous in upstate New York. And that’s where Jesse Bongiovi got the inspiration for a business that his father enthusiastically supports — “working with a son is one of the greatest joys,” he says — and that the young man devised in his last year of university.
“The joke in the Hamptons is that people drink more rosé than water,” explains Jesse. The Hamptons is a place that evokes a lifestyle that many dream of and few, like the Bongiovi family, can enjoy. The wine —which, due to a problem with the appellation of origin, had to be called Hampton, without the final s— is, says the father, that “dream in a bottle”, available to everyone. With the happy coincidence, adds Gérard Bertrand, that the landscape he alludes to is very similar to that of southern Languedoc, where the grapes of that rosy dream grow caressed by the Mediterranean sun before being bottled after maturing in oak barrels. A ritual that Jesse Bongiovi regularly attends and that the father also worries about.
Because this is, in the end, a business that moves a lot of money and where brands or names do not necessarily lead to success, no matter how many records one has sold in his other life. So, acknowledges Jon Bon Jovi, It has been a whole “dose of humility”. Father and son had to win the trust of the winemaker Bertrand. “If I write a song and give it to another person who doesn’t know what to do with it, I would not only be disappointed, I would be very angry,” Bon Jovi explains to EL PAÍS. “Wine is his song and we have had to learn and work to earn his respect, just like what I demand before giving someone a song of mine.”
Now, these businessmen and friends face the next challenge together: to conquer Europe. Their presence is growing in the French markets and they are looking for an entry in countries like Spain through the Hard Rock Café chain, which will offer their “Hampton water”. A challenge, a “mountain”, as Bon Jovi defines it, that doesn’t scare him. “It’s the same in the music industry: I’ve climbed the mountain. I have reached the pinnacle. And you know what? That there is another higher mountain still. Every time you reach the top, there is another mountain to climb. And that’s good, it’s what keeps you hungry, ”he says. The same philosophy now applies to wine. “None of us believe we have already climbed the mountain. Humility is what keeps you hungry, and when you are hungry, you want to achieve something else. There is always something bigger.” Keep the faith. Keep the Faith.
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Jon Bon Jovi, a veteran rocker who drinks ‘rosé’ wine