Though the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen proved rife with celebrity chefs, food show hosts and famous media personalities, it was film actress and director Drew Barrymore who really made a splash during the June festivities. The 40-year-old movie star was in town to talk about her wine, of course, Barrymore Wines, a five-year-old project she collaborated on with Jackson Family Wines’ Carmel Road winery in Monterey, California.
When Barrymore says it’s a “romantic and luxurious world to work in,” you’d think she was talking about Hollywood. But if you’ve followed Barrymore’s life as closely as her turns in Going The Distance or Blended, you’d know that her roles go well beyond the big screen. In fact, her most inspired one to date is that of being a mother to two little girls, Frankie and Olive. And that is where vino really comes in. “At the end of the day, you want a glass of wine,” she said, flashing that classic Barrymore half smile to journalists sitting around a table laden with pinot grigio and artisan cheeses.
Barrymore, who makes it clear she doesn’t want to be considered a lifestyle guru (even if she is one inadvertently), sees herself as a working mom, busy with one baby on her hip and another in hand as she tries to care for them equally. How she plans to see about a growing third child, her wine company, is a whole other monster. For her, though, it’s not so much about being a tot-juggling oenophile as it is about being an enthusiast. And it’s that thirst for knowledge that initially motivated the A-lister to travel around Italy and other countries to find the wines she liked so she could replicate them back in her home state of California. The result: the 2013 Barrymore Pinot Grigio, a refreshing summer cooler with hints of Asian pear, lemon and honeydew melon she created with winemaker Kris Kato.
“It’s like my first crush,” she said seemingly of the creation and wine in general, chuckling at the unintentional vino pun. “I love wine. I really do.” Barrymore liked it so much that when she married her other crush, art adviser Will Kopelman, in 2012, she added a wine list to her registry. The clever trick not only got the couple a cache of amazing vintages, but it also brought to mind the friends and family who gifted the pours every time they picked one out for dinner. “We would read the tag and it was like dining with that loved one,” Barrymore said.
As for where she likes to sip her vino when she’s not reminiscing at home, Barrymore says a few Los Angeles restaurants strike her fancy, including Dustin Lancaster’s Covell and The Tasting Kitchen, a place where she said the sommelier describes wines in a such a magical way it makes drinking them even more of a pleasure. She’s also a big fan of Eggslut, a breakfast spot with a waiting list so long that Barrymore said you basically have to sell your first child to get a table. While the latter eatery doesn’t specialize in wine, she still somehow organized a pairing at the Food & Wine Classic of Barrymore Wines with Eggslut chef Alvin Cailan’s dishes.
You can get Barrymore Wines at fine retailers all across the country, and it proves economical enough that you can buy cases of it for your next garden party. When the cooler weather comes, Drew will have you covered then, too. Her next vintage, Drew’s Blend Pinot Noir, will be released in September. A bit of a misnomer, this latest entry is actually made from 100 percent pinot noir grapes that offer the spicy and earthy flavors influenced by the celebrity’s world travels.
As for where else Barrymore would like to go to discover the nuances of vino, Argentina is high on the list as well as a deeper tour of Italian varietals. Though these kinds of grape explorations are what drew her into the industry, in the end, her favorite part about the wine business is simply being around the stuff. “I feel so lucky working with the people I am working with,” she said. “It’s brought me a lot of pleasure.” If she can bring the public half the joy with wine that she’s brought them with her spirited movie catalog over the years, all will be well.