May 23, 2018

Jon Bon Jovi and Son Jesse’s Chill New Rosé

Drink it in, just in time for Father's Day: Jon Bon Jovi and son Jesse Bongiovi's just-launched rosé, Diving Into Hampton Water.
Diving Into Hampton Water pairs nicely with salty snacks by the pool or grilled shrimp-and-scallop kebabs laced with ripe tomatoes. Photo courtesy of Diving Into Hampton Water.

by Ray Rogers

The idea appeared in a flash of inspiration one summer evening last year, while Jon Bon Jovi was savoring a chilled rosé with his son Jesse out on the porch of the family’s Georgica estate. The ingenious, why-didn’t-I-think-of-that name (“You’re definitely not the first one to tell us that!”) came when the rocker referred to his glass of rosé as “pink juice,” recalls Jesse. “I said, Listen, old man, when you’re sitting out on your porch in East Hampton, you’re not drinking ‘pink juice’ anymore—you’re drinking Hampton Water.’ And a light bulb went off. Imagine if someone put that on a bottle?”

The father-son duo teamed up with the French biodynamic winemaker Gérard Bertrand to bring Hampton Water deliciously to life. “Hampton Water is an expression of American free-spiritedness combined with French savoir-faire,” says Bertrand of the final result, a mix of grenache, cinsault, mourvèdre, and syrah grapes. “It was created to celebrate the pleasures of summer—sea, sun and sport, and the company of friends. Pleasure was always in mind when we created this blend—the succulent flavors of fresh fruit, balanced with zing.” It is a wine, he notes, that boasts enough complexity to be enjoyed at the dinner table, but is also an easygoing wine that’s “perfect for poolside quaffing.”

Touring the terroir of Bertrand’s vineyards in Languedoc, Jesse, a recent political science grad, got a quick education in sustainable winemaking. “Bertrand has a very deep, almost spiritual connection with the grounds of the vineyards. There are no pesticides, no tractors; there’s a mule and a plow and a French guy who doesn’t speak any English.”

He got a real feel—and taste—for the place. At one point Bertrand picked up a limestone rock from the ground and instructed Jesse to put it in his mouth. “I don’t think I had an advanced enough palate to get an understanding for it. It just sort of tasted like a rock,” he admits. But now he recognizes the traces of “minerality” in the wine—“being there and tasting it and having that connection with the earth was really the coolest part.”

OK, so it’s called Hampton Water but it’s made in France? Not exactly a stretch. “The lifestyle of the South of France is very similar to the Hamptons. We told him, we want this be more than a rosé, we want this to really be the ambassador for the Hamptons—and he got it right away. It’s not about the geographical location; it’s about the feeling you get and the feelings you share.”

You can find Hampton Water at most mom-and-pop liquor stores dotted throughout the East End, and restaurants and clubs ranging from the Palm to the Blue Parrot (Bon Jovi is a co-owner). Jesse is personally jazzed that they’ll also be the featured rosé at the Surf Lodge over Memorial Day weekend, with Bon Jovi senior and junior in attendance. “I’m finally cool enough to get in,” he jokes. Might lucky revelers catch the iconic rocker on the Surf Lodge’s outdoor stage? “Anything is possible,” teases Jesse. “We’ll see if he gets enough Hampton Water in him!”