What best reflects the style and glamor of Hollywood? This is the question the creators of Hollywood & Wine asked themselves. After all, they set out to create a wine label that would represent the most famous city in the world. Entrepreneur Doug Jeffery and his partners, Emmy Award Winning Valerio Ventura and Managing Editor of VIVA GLAM Magazine, Candace Kita have created an inexpensive, distinct, full-flavored wine for those who appreciate a cost-conscious bottle. They also deliver a presence worthy of the red carpet. We spoke Doug, Valerio and Candace about wine, Hollywood and building a better brand.
Focus: Hollywood & Wine is such a catchy name. How did you come up with the concept?
Doug: I was sitting in a restaurant with my partner Valerio Ventura and we were trying to come up with a catchy name. We must have gone through 100 ideas before the right one came up. It combines wine with what I do in Hollywood. I own 41 Sets, a full-service production, set design company. We build for commercials, television, fashion shoots and film. If you think it, we can build it.
Focus: Describe your wine in one sentence?
Candace: “Two Buck Chuck” gets a Hollywood makeover.
Focus: Doug, tell us about your background. I know you have been in the entertainment industry for many years. How do you think this lends itself to creating a product that encompasses all that is Hollywood?
Doug: I started out as an actor and model in the early 90’s. I got to travel the world and feel very blessed with the many lives that I’ve led. You might say that I am an habitual entrepreneur. I’m always looking for the new high and the challenge of creating. I started 41 Sets when I was 41 years old. I think there is a lot to a name or title of something you are trying to create.
Valerio and I met at a quaint little coffee shop. He was working for Disney at the time. We started to talk and two creative forces united and we’ve been working on projects ever since. Candace is an actor and the Managing Editor of VIVA GLAM Magazine, a women’s lifestyle magazine with a large following. As you can see, everyone has been in the entertainment industry for a long time. Each one brings their talents to create a team. I have business savvy, Valerio is the creative force and Candace has the marketing prowess.
Focus: Valerio, you recently won a Primetime Emmy for your work with Walt Disney Television. Tell us about your vision for Hollywood & Wine?
Valerio: When Doug asked me if I was interested in collaborating on his idea, I thought it was a great concept that needed to be explored. As a designer, I thought it needed a story. It needed to include all Hollywood film genres and entertainment. Labels can represent genres of film. For example, science fiction is one of our genres. We have 1950’s movies where a small town is being attacked by aliens and we create a nostalgic mock-movie poster label of that style. Additionally, we could have the Georges Méliès “Trip To The Moon” type of label evoking a vintage feel. It is the same for horror, thriller, film noir, femme fatale films, detective hunks, secret agents and more. Some of our bottles will come with a limited edition poster size giclée print signed by the artist. We think that a bottle is more than just a container for the great wine we are providing. A bottle with a proper label can be an extension to MORE; a connection to Hollywood and its film pedigree. This would add to the conversation, fun and the enjoyment of drinking a good glass of wine with your friends.
That’s our creative strategy and what we plan to unleash with Hollywood & Wine.
Focus: Candace, you are the Managing Editor of VIVA GLAM Magazine. How are your talents best utilized by Hollywood & Wine?
Candace: I’ve been in the Entertainment Industry for over 23 years now. I’ve been on both sides of the camera as an actor and also a coordinator for shoots. I’ve also done PR for over five years now and am currently the Managing Editor of VIVA GLAM Magazine. Part of my position at the magazine is helping to create a media buzz via social networking, events, interviews, articles and other forms of publicity. And the industry connections that I have made for over 2 decades have proven invaluable to this project.
I believe thinking outside the box has been vital to building a better wine brand. Doug and I have always created our own jobs in Hollywood. We believe the sky is the limit when it comes to our potential. We are always creating and never stop. In fact, last night we were brainstorming ideas at midnight and ended up calling a contact on the East Coast at 3am his time! We woke him up and talked business for an hour! There is no 40 hour work week for us. Rather, it is 7/24.
Focus: Doug, you are currently in discussions with several networks about a reality show based on your wine brand. Can you tell us about it?
Doug: It is a combination of 41 Sets, Hollywood and Wine and my crazy life. Recently, I decided to get back into acting. We have done shoots this year in Costa Rica, Sayulita Mexico and Placencia, Belize. I had the opportunity to shoot a commercial in Palm Springs. We almost had an opportunity this week to go to Vietnam and Cambodia for a job, but I lost out because they said I looked too young! Candace’s job with the magazine allows us to go to large events, galas and travel the world. It has been decades of living and breathing Hollywood. Factor that in with the chaos of 41 Sets and Hollywood and Wine and you have a show.
Focus: Larry Hogan from Sagebrush Annie’s is also involved in this project. Who is he, what is he known for and what does he bring to the table?
Candace: Larry Hogan was originally a cattle rancher from Dallas, a good ole staunch Republican. I’ve known him for years as we are both Texans. We love him to death. He is based in Central California and has Sagebrush Annie’s wine tasting room along with his own label. He was kind enough to teach us the true nuts and bolts of wine making. His label has won a ton of awards. Combined with our marketing and his expertise, Hollywood & Wine is in good hands.
Focus: Doug, previously you have mentioned the need for “building a better brand”. Can you explain this?
Doug: We took the concept of an inexpensive wine, like “Two Buck Chuck”, and turned on the marketing machine. We are not making something new. We are not changing the product. We are giving it a makeover. The packaging is savvier. The advertising is creating an image and an allure. I recently read there is nothing in our history that deals with an engagement before marriage. An engagement was the 5th largest campaign by a diamond maker to promote the sale of diamonds. Take a product and spin it with a good marketing campaign, you can make it a part of everyone’s life. And now, with social media, a lot of this is being done without spending a fortune.
Focus: You have said your wine is “embarrassment proof”, why?
Doug: People are well aware if you are drinking cheap wine based on the size of the bottle, the punt, the laminated cork and the very bland labeling. There is a new crop of wine drinkers out there that are coming of age. And there are hundreds of bottles in a wine store to choose from. We want your eye to go to ours. It is cost-effective and tastes great. It is artwork. Each label is hand designed by an Emmy-winning artist. These bottles will turn into collectibles. We will have special editions that you will put on your shelf and never drink!