There was a pink cake, with two fairly lively fireworks stuck in the top, and in a slightly embarrassed way and somewhat off-key, a roomful of wine trade people and journalists sang happy birthday – to Kylie Minogue. The event, held in one of London’s exclusive members-only clubs, was just a few days after the pop superstar’s birthday, but the real celebration was that her range of wines, including that famous pink Prosecco, the one with hearts all over the bottle, is two years old.
Ask anyone who has launched a new wine on the UK market how sales are going, and they may shrug their shoulders and mention “difficult times”. Not Kylie. From a standing start, her wines hit the shelves and the checkouts in short order. In the two years since their launch, sales have reached five million bottles, and Kylie’s Prosecco Rosé is the top-selling branded Prosecco rosé in the UK.
But with such a successful and busy career, why would someone so famous put her name to wine? Slightly starstruck, I managed to chat to Kylie, and ask her why and how she got into the wine business.
“My eyes were really opened to the world of wine in the early 90s when my then boyfriend and I went on a trip through the south of France and Italy,” she said. “I was only 21 at the time and it was my first trip of this kind. Everything was new and exciting, glamorous, and intoxicating. It was during that trip that I fell in love with wine and how wine can be so much a part of an experience.
“Fast forward to my trip to Nashville in the summer of 2017 when I recorded my album Golden. This is actually where I was inspired to create my own rosé. While dining al-fresco one night, my manager and I were drinking a lovely rosé to cool down from the heat. I remember holding the glass and just thinking how beautiful it was and I said out loud ‘I would love to have my own rosé”.
It is one thing to wish to have your own wine brand, and quite another to actually achieve it. That is where Australian wine professional, Paul Schaafsma, now living in the UK came in. After a long career in the business, Paul and his company Benchmark Drinks knew exactly how to get the right quality of wine to suit Kylie’s personality and profile. At that point it would have been easy for her to let Paul and his company develop a range of wine and lend her name to it. But that isn’t Kylie’s style.
“I like to get involved in the wines that have my name on and discovering the regions and the people in the wine industry is one of my favourite parts of the experience. I am lucky enough to have visited all of the wineries my wines are produced in,” she added.
“I have recently returned from visiting the Zonin Estate in Gambellara, northern Italy, the home of my Prosecco Rosé. This is a stunning region, nestled in the heart of the Veneto among undulating valleys and rolling vineyards. There are about 4,000 hectares of vines here producing some of the world’s finest Proseccos and mine is one of them! I was so delighted to meet the Zonin family and the extended team. Their passion for wine runs deep and it has added another dimension to my appreciation of beautifully crafted Prosecco Rosé.
“A few months earlier I visited Château Sainte Roseline in Provence, the home of my Côtes de Provence Cru Classé Rosé. I have always had a love for France, and its wine. I was so inspired by its history, beauty and culture. I am constantly learning throughout my journey, and I am so proud of delivering quality wines from the Provence region.
“The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are a celebration of my home in Australia. Last year I visited Jeff Burch and the team at Howard Park Wines in Margaret River, Western Australia. It was so exciting to visit the vineyard, meet the winemaker, Janice McDonald, and submerge myself into that world for a few days. It was also amazing to visit DeBortoli and share a glass of Pinot Noir with the winemaker, Steve Webber.”
The Kylie range of wines is distinctive in that her signature is on labels, capsules and corks, so you can be sure that she really endorses these wines. They start with a great value range that includes a rounded juicy Merlot, a crisp Côtes de Gascogne and a soft, gently French rosé. At around £9 a bottle, and occasionally £7 on offer, from Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda, these are perfect for any summer gathering. Tesco currently has the best price of £7 for the rosé until Monday, for Clubcard holders only.
The real party starter is the Prosecco Rosé in a bottle that is embossed all over with hearts. Perfect for weddings, hen parties or just dinner à deux, this is drier than most Proseccos and it bursts with strawberry and raspberry fruit. Normally around £13, this is down to £9 at Sainsbury’s until July 19.
My favourite in the range is the Côtes de Provence Rosé 2021, normally around £15 at Sainsbury’s, but down to £13 until July 19 Fashionably pale pink, it is packed with redcurrant and raspberry fruit, dry and delicious. A new addition to the range is a pure, elegant, single-estate Sainte Rosaline Côtes de Provence.
While pink is definitely a theme within the range, there is a terrific Margaret River Chardonnay and a Yarra Valley Pinot Noir.
The UK is “lucky, lucky, lucky” to have had the first taste of these wines, but two weeks ago Kylie launched them in New York, apparently causing traffic chaos and queues around the block as she held a “bottle signing”. Apparently, shelves were cleared in hours and more Kylie wine is now on its way across the Atlantic. Let’s hope they leave enough for us.