Celebrity oenophiles put their money where their wine glass is

Andrew Harding, left, and Stephen Amell
Andrew Harding, left, and Stephen Amell, star of ‘Arrow’ Thursdays on CW.

If you’ve ever set foot inside of an establishment that sells wine by the bottle, you’ve likely seen a few familiar names, Francis Ford Coppola and Greg Norman being among them.

Celebrities who love wine have been known to take their hobby to the next level and put their name, capital and/or blood, sweat and tears behind a product they’re passionate about. Some even take courses on winemaking and educate themselves about the business end of it, and still others get out and work in the vineyards. For a few, it has become their day job.

It’s all in the name of sharing their passion with the public – and if they can make a few extra bucks along the way, so much the better.

One is Stephen Amell, who plays the title character on The CW’s Thursday action series “Arrow.” With partner Andrew Harding, he started Nocking Point Wines in 2012 on a lark following a baseball road trip to San Francisco. Six years later, they’re producing a variety of red and white wines from their vineyards in Walla Walla, Wash. And while the actor is usually not on site, visitors to the winery can purchase an autographed bottle from the gift shop.

More hands-on is French actor Gerard Depardieu, whose Chateau de Tigne produces reds, whites and rosés from its winery in France’s Loire Valley. So active is he in all aspects of the business that his occupation on his passport is listed as “vigneron” (or one who cultivates grapes for winemaking).

Bure Family Wines

Also very active in the business is former NHL star Valeri Bure, who with wife Candace Cameron Bure (“Fuller House”), co-owns and designs wines for Bure Family Wines of Napa Valley, Calif., which produces high-end cabernet, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc wines.

Another ex-athlete who has his hands in everything from the ground up is Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver, who can often be spotted examining the crop at his Napa Valley concern Seaver Vineyards, which is known for its high-quality cabernets. So involved is he, in fact, that he was once laid up by Lyme disease that he contracted from a tick bite on his property a few years ago.

Singer Fergie has also has taken to winemaking, and her Ferguson Crest, which she co-founded with father Pat Ferguson in 2006, bottles such varietals as cabernet, syrah, grenache and something it calls “Fergalicious” at its Santa Ynez Valley, Calif., facility.

The band Train is in the wine game as well with their Save Me, San Francisco Wine Co. Proceeds from the retail sales of its cabernets, chardonnays, merlots and other varietals go to a local charity benefiting children and families.

Kyle MacLachlan, star of the Washington-set “Twin Peaks,” also happens to be a native son and wine merchant in the Evergreen State, and his Pursued by Bear Wines of Walla Walla sells cabernets, syrahs and rosés.

Fans of the 2004 movie “Sideways” will recognize Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard – founded by the late Western star – for a pivotal scene filmed at its Los Olivos, Calif., property. It was here that Miles (Paul Giamatti) learned that his book had been rejected, resulting in an ugly scene that resulted in his being tossed.

As for Norman, the Australian golfer and two-time major champion has been producing cabernets, chardonnays and sauvignon blancs from his Greg Norman Estates in Australia and California since 1996. And the Francis Ford Coppola Winery sells lines such as the Director’s Cut, Storytellers and Sofia (named after his daughter) at its location in Geyserville, Calif.

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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