I've long been a fan of Jay-Z and his music--his collaboration with R Kelly on Fiesta was the soundtrack to many high school beach parties and 99 Problems that he did with Rick Rubin was one of the most listened to songs on my iPod. Since working in the wine industry I've also been a big fan of how legit Jay-Z's wine appreciation is. So I was delighted to happen upon this great video on Jay-Z's blog Life + Times over Saturday morning coffee that features Francis Ford Coppola Winery at harvest time, interviewing head winemaker Corey Beck:
Because I represent Francis Coppola's wines--both the Coppola Presents line from Sonoma and the flagship Inglenook property in Napa--I've had the chance to visit the winery and have met Corey a number of times. He's definitely the affable gentleman depicted in the video, and he produces some of California's most sought-after wine. So glad to see them featured on Life + Times and know that Jay-z is a fan of Coppola's wines as well.
Wine has always been a part of Jay-Z's image; and since famously boycotting Cristal as the unofficial Champagne of hiphop in 2006 over perceived racist comments by Louis Roederer's managing director Frederic Rouzaud, Jay-Z has championed a new brand of ultra-premium bubbles: the Ace of Spades by Armand De Brignac in Chigny Les Roses. He is also rumoured to also have a financial stake in the distribution with NYC's Sovereign Brands and it was named #1 Champagne of the year in 2010 by Fine Champagne Magazine. The mainstream recognition of its unique pewter and gold bottles is almost exclusively thanks to Jay-Z replacing Cristal with it in his music videos. But since leaving behind Cristal he's also moved into drinking red wine over backroom card games with Harvey Keitel and hosting Champagne political fundraisers for Barack Obama at his Manhattan 40/40 Club...a party that I imagine looked a little like this:
So be it resolved that between Jay-Z's promotion of Armand De Brignac; his $280'000 Champagne tower for Obama; $250'000 on wine at his buddy Chris Martin's Coldplay concert (with wives Beyonce and Gweneth Paltrow dancing with Champagne in the wings); and featuring guys like Corey Beck and Francis Ford Coppola Winery on Life + Times...Mr. Shawn Carter is one of the most serious wine guys in the music biz.
But maybe the coolest thing is that between hanging with the Obamas, Chris Martin and Gweneth Paltrow, etc he is still humble and comes off like this: