Growing crowd of celebrity wines take spotlight

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Fancy having Brangelina, Drew Barrymore and Dan Aykroyd over for dinner? No problem, they’ll even bring the wine.

OK, maybe the stars themselves won’t show up, but their wines will appear with just a wave of a credit card. You might start with an aperitif of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s new Miraval rose, move on to a light pasta dish served with Barrymore Wine’s pinot grigio, then perhaps finish up with a glass of Aykroyd’s cabernet franc ice wine for dessert.

It’s hard to put a number on celebrity wines, a category that includes singers, sports stars, chefs and more. But Danny Brager, vice president for alcoholic beverages at market research firm Nielsen, says there’s close to 100 on the market at the moment. “It keeps growing all the time,” he said.

With thousands and thousands of wines out there, having a recognizable name on the label can help. “Just breaking through the clutter can be hugely difficult and I think that’s where a recognized name just in and of itself can help break through that clutter,” said Brager.

True wine aficionados are “going to judge the wine based on what the wine tastes like in the glass. But you have lots of customers who are not that picky about the wine. For them, wine is just a hedonistic experience. They don’t want to analyze the wine; they just want to enjoy it,” said Jasper Russo, fine wine buyer for Sigel’s wine and spirits store in Dallas. “If you’re a Brangelina fan, it’s cool to have that on the table.”

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