BELLA Chats with Danica Patrick About Her Latest Wine Endeavor

No stranger to the world of wine, famous race car driver Danica Patrick, launches a new brand of rosé just as the summer begins to turn to fall. Unlike many other celebrity wines on the market, hers comes with a background to back it up.

Throughout her racing career, Danica would find herself traveling to countries near and far, tasting the wines of the world. In 2009, she finally got the opportunity to take her love of wine to the next level, by purchasing a vineyard in Napa and founding her own wine brand, Somnium, which has since gone on to produce Cabernet Sauvignon, a red blend, Sauvignon Blanc and rosé. But now she’s branching out of from California wine and diving headfirst into French rosé.

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Known as the oldest winemaking region in France, Provence has the ideal climate, terrain and grape varieties for rosé. So that’s where Danica set out to create her new brand, eponymous Danica Rosé. In collaboration with the Margnat family, who has been making wine since the 1890s, Danica’s rosé comes in a stunning bottle and boasts a fresh, light pink hue. With notes of crisp white peach and melon, the rosé has a refreshing finish and pairs well with summer pastas, seafood, cheeses and, according to Danica, a good attitude.

The rosé is now available online, as well as at select retailers in California, Florida and New York, with a nationwide expansion planned for 2021. Read on to learn more about the wine:

With so many celebrity rosés currently on the market, what made you want to produce one and how is yours different from what’s already out there?

I guess going into this I’m not looking at the industry going,  “oh, there’s a lot of celebrity rosés out there, I better jump on the bandwagon.’ I’ve actually been in the wine industry since 2009. I bought a property in Napa and started from scratch, developed the vineyard, and produce wine there. I’ve been around a long time, so when the opportunity came up to make an authentic rosé from Provence, I felt like that was a really natural fit. The team itself that is helping to market it, keep it going, etc., is really, really good. So I come from that inspired place of “how can we get something really great out to people?” Plus, of course, wine is all about the story and I have such a backstory of wine and [am] directly in the line of making wine. So, what makes it different? Of course, the story, the authenticity, the involvement, sitting going through so many rosés, identifying the flavor, the characteristics, the color, the bottle shape, bottle design, the cork, the label, the name — all of it was such a process that took a lot of time. This is honestly the most fun part.  I think that specifically what makes this different from what else is out there (there’s a lot of good wine don’t get me wrong), but this is really good, and on top of that, the bottle itself is beautiful with such small characteristics — [for example,] even the bottle neck shape is designed so when you pour it, it doesn’t drip; it can be stuck in an ice bucket with water and the label doesn’t fall off…it’s lots of little details that make the product so high-end, classy, quality and accessible that it’s an easy choice in my mind.

Why did you want to branch out from the Somnium umbrella with this new label?

I love wine, and I love the opportunity it presents to connect with people. And while Somnium makes a high-end Cabernet, its not French, and personally I really love French wine. I, of course love Napa Cabs and California wine, but man do I love myself some French wine. Rosé is so accessible, it suites all occasions and almost everybody loves it. If you like wine, rosé is so easy to drink. It was just a way to take this mindset and idea of connecting people through the wine, through the time you are spending consuming it, to connect and create memories. This is just a bigger platform, ultimately. Somnium is a boutique brand and Danica Rosé is going to be really big.

How did you select which producer to work with?

It came down to what kind of flavor we were looking for, the history of the producers in Provence and making it all line up so we were creating a product [that] we all decided was what we wanted to create. [I] found the right people that fit with what it was we were looking for.

How did this process differ from your past experience producing wine at your vineyard in Napa?

I’m not there; it’s in France, so that’s one big thing. However, I haven’t really been there for the process of producing wine in Napa because for so many years I was racing, so I wasn’t able to even be [at the vineyard]. This process differs because I am so much farther removed from really having any ability to be hands on since it’s so far away. Ultimately, the experience is not too much different at this point in time — I’m not going to beat around the bush, I’m not a wine maker. I don’t make the wine; for Somnium, I am the proprietor, and for the rosé, I’m a partner. So it’s not that much different because I’m not the winemaker or the farmer, so the producing part is really the part I’m the least involved in.

The bottle is gorgeous. How did the design come about?          

We sat down with 30 different bottles of rosé and identified a lot of different categories of characteristics that we were really all in agreement on. We all agreed on the shape of the bottle that we felt was the most unique, but not bizarre, and felt the best in your hand. We all agreed that, overall, the bottle just needed to be beautiful [with] texture on the bottle, and creating a custom casting was the way to go. People really gravitate towards a beautiful bottle, especially with rosé. People will buy the rosé just for the bottle and I think our bottle is worth buying just for that, too. I’ve already repurposed a bunch of ours into flower vases! ([And] soon to be water bottles next to the night stand for visitors.) Honestly you could cut the top off into glasses with that beautiful design!

What do you like to pair with your rosé?

Anything! [It’s] such a versatile wine [that] it really goes with anything, but it’s going to lean more towards your lighter foods. I think the best thing you can pair your rosé with is a good attitude and some good friends!

Do you have plans to grow this wine brand with other vintages or blends in the future?

I think the goal right now is rosé. We’re making an authentic Provence rosé, [so] this is what it’s going to be right now. We want to make this really, really big and produce more and more and make this extremely accessible across the world.

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