Hip Hop and Fine Wine

Yep, that’s right. Don’t be shocked; it’s really nothing new. A recent Bloomberg Wine article made me think about it though. The article discussed Kanye West’s (he’s a hip hop artist, if you don’t know) influence on sales of moscato. He doesn’t promote his own wine label, like some artists do for liquors such as P. Diddy and Ciroq vodka. I’m not aware of any hip hop artists involved directly with wine actually. But what Kanye does have is millions of followers.

It seems, all Kanye has to do it mention drinking moscato and sales soar (pour?). If you’re curious, the line that did it was “Sarraco moscato it do taste better” in the song, Make Her Feel Good by Teairra Mari which featured Kanye. I don’t remember the song or line either, it’s okay. Kanye West has also made sure to mention reisling (“beasting off the reisling”) in more recent songs. Which I’m positive made sales jump there too, and made many sommeliers, who have been trying to pump the amazing grape for decades, very happy.

And this is nothing new. Rap enthusiasts are well aware of the sudden about-face that artist Jay-Z pulled some years ago. Jay-Z, rapper, producer, and production company exec had for years, been sure to mention Cristal – a very expensive brand of champagne that comes in it’s famous transparent gold wrapper. I still remember music videos depicting refrigerators swinging open to show it stocked top to bottom with the stuff. Jay-Z must have been benefiting with some cold hard cash for mentioning the bubbly, right? Wrong.

Cristal was promoted so much by the guys in fact, that after some time Frederic Rouzad, the head of Louis Roederer, which owns the Cristal brand, said that the hip hop community brought “unwelcome attention” (see the winebusiness.com article here, among a million others you can google) to the brand, which Jay-Z quickly thought to be racist. He announced, “I view his comments as racist and will no longer support any of his products through any of my various brands including The 40/40 Club nor in my personal life.” And that…was that. You won’t hear mention of Cristal in anyone’s music now. What Jay-Z says, goes.

And the new bubbly to be promoted? Perhaps the flashiest bottle of all. Ace of Spades, as it’s called, made by Armand de Brignac. Solid gold bottle (or other colors, like silver, depending on the specific one you get), with a giant ace of spades on the front, the bottle certainly commands attention. Cost? About $250 retail. It’s not just flash. It really is supposed to be nectar, along with Cristal.

Armand de Brignac Brut Gold

It’s not just the rappers that want in on this. This year, when the Dallas Mavericks won the NBA championship, they celebrated with a bottle of Ace of Spades…that was 15 liters (20 normal bottles) and $90,000. Hold your breath…the Boston Bruins subsequently won the NHL championship only weeks later and ordered a 30 liter bottle of the same juice, for $100,000. Only 10 grand more! What a steal.

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