Jesse Bongiovi has spent the past few summers sitting on his family porch in East Hampton, sipping rosé, but summer 2018 is about to be his best one yet; he’ll now be pouring bottles of his very own wine label, Diving Into Hampton Water.
The 23-year-old son of Jon Bon Jovi is kicking off the first summer with his new rosé on the market with a proper seasonal introduction this weekend at Surf Lodge, where Jesse J will perform at a dinner toasting the wine. Having launched earlier this year — in colder, less rosé-friendly months — Bongiovi is eagerly awaiting the chance to finally reap the rewards during the summer (and share the wine, which is one of two 90 point rosés this year).
“In the last two months I’ve been to 10 different cities; we were in D.C. on Monday, we were in Chicago, Orlando, Charlotte, Austin…we’ve been everywhere,” he says over the phone in Manhattan, while packing for a wine trip to Vegas.
The idea came about two summers ago, in light of the family’s passion for both wine and the Hamptons.
“My family, we were always big wine drinkers. My parents were never really drinking anything else but white wine and rosé. It was something I was very much used to having around the house, and in the Hamptons, the running joke out there is that rosé is the water of the Hamptons,” he says. “Literally about a year and a half ago, we were sitting on our porch and my dad came out and offered me a glass of ‘pink juice’ and I looked at him and said ‘no dad, you’re sitting in East Hampton, you’re in this beautiful Hampton house, you’re not drinking ‘pink juice’ you’re drinking Hampton water.’ And the lightbulb kind of went off.”
Bongiovi was then challenged by his dad to come up with a business plan and see it through, from designing the label to flying out to Gérard Bertrand’s vineyard, who they have partnered with.
“I spent 10 days out at his vineyard last September, and I went back out there with my dad in December to pick the blend; we literally spent three days in a laboratory with eye droppers,” he says.
Bongiovi graduated from Notre Dame in January 2017, having studied political science and business and after four years on the football team, which he walked onto freshman year.
“Originally I wanted to go into banking, just being from New York and Notre Dame being a big business school,” he says.
The family has had a home in East Hampton since he was eight, and being out East remains one of his favorite places.
“For a lot of people when you say ‘oh we go to the Hamptons’ they look at you funny. But for us, that’s where my family really takes a step back and it’s where we get to really relax,” he says. “Obviously, my dad travels all the time, and with me being in college and I have two younger brothers and an older sister…so when we’re out in the Hamptons, that’s kind of where we all finally get to get together. We all get to just hang out. When your dad travels as much as mine does, it’s sort of rare. So the Hamptons for us is really home base.”
And the best part of summer 2018?
“We finally now get to drink our own wine.”
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