The rocker started, with his son, in the production of rosé wine. Proud of his success across the Atlantic, he is now trying to conquer the European continent.
It is rare to be told, when meeting a rock star, “not to talk about his career or his music”. Because if Jon Bon Jovi is in France this Monday, May 9, it is above all as a winegrower. But also as an entrepreneur. Because when his eldest son, Jesse Bongiovi, had the idea, one day while hanging out in their house in the Hamptons, to produce wine, he first turned to his father and suggested that he launch Hamptons Water. . “I always saw my father drinking ‘pink juice’, says Jesse. I understood much later that it was rosé wine. And it became what we drank the most in the Hamptons. Hence my idea of Hamptons Water. “I couldn’t resist the name,” smiles Jon. When Jesse told me about it, it must have been 2 or 3 in the morning, but I immediately said, “Let’s do it.”
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The next day, I asked him to prepare his business plan and present me with something serious. What he did. And then I took it to the next level. Jon Bon Jovi – who has no idea how wine is made – makes phone calls, hops on a plane to California and ends up meeting Gérard Bertrand, the man at the head of one of the most important French vineyards, which lets the rocker and his son speak. “I saw that they were serious and ambitious,” notes Gérard. Together, therefore, they developed their Hampton Water (losing the “s” of Hamptons for legal reasons), designed a bottle and a label, and marketed their first cuvées on the American market in 2018. Without the name of Bon Jovi appears. “I didn’t want to launch the ‘Bed of Roses Rosé’, says Jon. Our approach is the opposite of those who put their surname on a label and don’t care about the result. »
The Bon Jovi father and son often come to Languedoc to take part in the harvest
The Bongiovi thus regularly come to tread the land of Languedoc where the grapes grow, participate in the harvest, scrupulously follow the winemaking process. “Gérard even asked me to lick a pebble so that I could understand where the minerality of our wine comes from. At first he didn’t care about me. But I did it again this week and I promise you I felt the elements in the bottle. »
As rock star as he is, Bon Jovi has had to make his way through the closed world of winegrowers, who often look down on him with contempt. “Yes, it’s a cure for humility, admits Jon, in which I invest a lot, a lot of money. We were last week in a Long Island restaurant where I did everything: photos, smiles, autographs, to finally hear myself say that rosé was not a noble wine. Gérard Bertrand laughs at the anecdote. “On the contrary, it is a wine that has immense potential, that we see more and more on the menu of restaurants, and that takes up more and more space in cellars. »
Bon Jovi turns pink with pleasure. “You know, we may have filled stadiums, enjoyed immense glory in the 1990s, there was a moment, with the group, where we were no longer in the game. Well, we hung on, we never gave up. It’s the same approach in wine: you have to persevere, know how to make mistakes and constantly get up. “Jon Bon Jovi will not say a word of criticism on his last tour, where social networks have mocked his vocal wanderings, his untimely derailments. He doesn’t care, he knows he has a new challenge ahead of him: this week, Hampton Water is on sale throughout Europe, and particularly in France, a country where Bon Jovi has never convinced. While filling the biggest stadiums during his 2019 European tour, he simply ignored France. Revenge time has come! Health !