×

Kurt Russell Discovers That Winemaking Grows on Him

He may be one of Hollywood’s most macho stars, but Kurt Russell also blends a masterful pinot noir. Over 50-plus years in showbiz, the actor, currently starring in “Furious 7,” has gone from Disney teen heartthrob to action star to seasoned tough guy.

Russell has long decompressed from filming movies like “Backdraft” by nurturing an interest in wine, a passion that deepened as he and longtime partner Goldie Hawn biked around grapevine-intensive regions like France, Italy and the Napa Valley. “I started to notice especially the Burgundy area and the grand crus. I feel in love with pinot,” Russell says. “I was sort of fascinated with the dialogue I would have with the people in the vineyard.”

But it wasn’t until Russell shot Quentin Tarantino’s “Death Proof” in the Santa Rita Hills north of Santa Barbara that he started tasting with an eye toward someday making his own wine. After meeting Peter and Rebecca Work of Ampelos Cellars, he was inspired by their organic and sustainable biodynamic farming methods.

Following production of his first bottle of pinot, he ran into Wolfgang Puck, who demanded a taste. “You’re serious about this! You should continue,” advised the celebrity chef. With that endorsement, he borrowed his childhood nickname to launch Gogi wines at Ampelos in 2007, soon adding Goldie chardonnay to his beloved pinot.  “I wanted to make a very Burgundian-style pinot,” Russell says, explaining his wines have a more Old World character than most California pinots.

Many celebrities go only as far as picking a design for their personal wine labels. But Russell does it all, walking the field and blending alongside Peter Work in the winery. “I’m his apprentice,” Russell says.

Part of the fun, of course, is sharing his bottles with collaborators like Tarantino, who served Gogi wines at a “Hateful Eight” cast dinner recently in Telluride and likes having fine wines in his screening room. Russell returns to a favorite metaphor to describe the connection between acting and winemaking. “It reminds me of moviemaking,” he says. “The varietal is the genre of movie, the care in the winery is much like the casting, the editing is the blending.”

Russell’s pinot noir and chardonnay can be sampled at the Wine Saloon in the 1880 Union Hotel in Los Alamos, and they’re served at several Los Angeles-area restaurants including Spago, Soho House and Petros.

Gogi wines will be featured at the Grand Wine Dinner with Kurt Russell at the Bacara Resort on April 18. The dinner is part of the Santa Barbara Food and Wine Weekend, which benefits the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts.

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • Taika Waititi Natalie Portman SDCC 2019

    Natalie Portman Weighs in on 'Thor: Love and Thunder's' Possible Breast Cancer Storyline

    Natalie Portman doesn’t know if “Thor: Love and Thunder” will include a breast cancer storyline for her character Jane Foster, but she’s definitely intrigued by the possibility. “It’s just very rare that these kinds of big entertainment films look at more serious, real-life issues,” she told Variety at L.A. Dance Project’s 8th annual fundraising gala [...]

  • Julie Andrews

    Julie Andrews Recalls Husband Blake Edwards' Battle With Depression

    The line to see Julie Andrews at the 92nd Street Y wrapped around the square of a sprawling New York City block. Seventy years since the start of her career, 60 since she asked “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?” as Lerner and Loewe’s first Eliza and 50 since she sang “The Sound of Music” before the [...]

  • Bombshell Charlize Theron Megyn Kelly

    'Bombshell': Why Charlize Theron Was Terrified of Playing Megyn Kelly

    Charlize Theron is getting some of the best buzz of her career for channeling Megyn Kelly in “Bombshell,” but the Oscar-winning actress admits she almost turned down the role. “I was shit scared,” Theron said during a question-and-answer session following a Manhattan screening of “Bombshell” on Sunday. Partly, she was worried about portraying someone who [...]

  • Natalie Portman Benjamin Millipied LA Dance

    Natalie Portman, Benjamin Millepied Help Raise Over $1 Million For L.A. Dance Project

    Natalie Portman may be joining Chris Hemsworth in Marvel’s “Thor 4: Love and Thunder,” but as the petite, Dior-clad actress struck a range of poses on the carpet inside downtown Los Angeles gallery space Hauser, Wirth & Schimmel on Saturday night, it was impossible to imagine her wielding an enormous hammer. But then, the Oscar [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content