Drew Barrymore on Wine, Design and Family Crests
The dregs have drained and the hangovers have cleared after the annual Pebble Beach Food & Wine Classic took over the coastal towns of Carmel and Monterey this weekend. But while there, 7x7 took a seat with Drew Barrymore to find out more about her eponymous wine, Barrymore Pinot Grigio, a crisp and fruity wine from the Triveneto region of Northern Italy.
Your grapes come from three fantastic regions in the area, Venezia Giulia, Trentino Alto Adige and Veneto. What inspired you to get involved?
I fell in love with this wine, and for me it was about the journey of traveling and finding wines that I believe in and really want to drink in real life. I’m not a winemaker, I’m a wine curator. I’ve never said it that way before, but that’s really how I think about it. It was a great opportunity for me to go and discover where the best Pinot Grigio grapes are grown in a particular region, and understand how that works and functions. And now maybe I can find a rosé in Provence or an Argentinian Malbec as well. It’s a fluid, romantic endeavor. I can find myself in these extraordinary circumstances or situations and then bring it home to people.
When do you break out a bottle of your Pinot Grigio?
I drink it with friends, and actually, I love that my friends all order it behind my back. But I know what my friends like. I think Pinot Grigio is inherently feminine and women enjoy drinking it with food, in the afternoon, or in the evening more than, for example, a red wine. It has a lot of flavor profiles without being overpowering. I don’t love notes of gold, butter or oak in my wine, which is why I fell in love with this one. I think that’s why I wanted to balance the bottle label and make it my grandfather’s crest—it’s more masculine, and I think Pinot Grigio is often very feminine. And because I love graphics, I tried to create this label in the vein of a gentleman’s business card, juxtaposing the femininity of a Pinot Grigio to make it look like something a man can bring to dinner. Everyone was telling me to put gold on the label, or the vineyard or all these other things, but I just wanted it to be simple.
Who has a family crest?
I know, it sounds so fancy. It wasn’t like that in 1975 when I was growing up with my single mother in West Hollywood. There was no crest anywhere. It was nothing like that when I was growing up, but I loved the aspiration and I loved that my grandfather had that and created this crest. He was rather fabulous, but he was also very flawed. Nothing in my life is about pretending to be anything. We’re all a little bit fabulous and a little bit flawed. And the best thing we can do in life is to try to enjoy it and maintain a sense of humor, because oh my goodness—it is so hard.
Speaking of hard, it’s impossible to concentrate because it’s so hot in here. I’m sorry if I’m sweating on you.
Oh my god, I know. Who forgot to bring the fan? Nobody knew to dress for a sweat lodge. Welcome to Pebble Beach, where you’ll probably see your power animal.
What was challenging about creating your own label?
With wine, it’s a really slow burn, and I didn’t want to just come out with a celebrity wine. It’s not about me, it’s about something I believe in, and so I tried to do it in a very classy, quiet and slow way. I would love it if people just liked the wine. That’s really the key at the end of the day—whether people think it’s good. And I also wanted to pay homage to generations, to family dinners around the table. The winemakers I work with in Italy are a great generational family. We hang out and cook—I mean, I have a pasta overload. These are the experiences I want to bring back to my friends and others.