Emmy award winner Kathie Lee Gifford has had an extraordinary career as a television host, singer and actress, most recently as the star of Today’s fourth hour alongside co-star Hoda Kotb. You’d think that would be enough to keep anyone busy, but recently she added a second career as well: vintner. Her Gifft wines, which launched in 2014 in partnership with California’s Scheid Family Winery, proved an immediate success. Food & Wine’s Ray Isle sat down with Gifford at one of her favorite New York City restaurants to talk about taking on this second career.
What’s the new wine project like?
We're making a red blend and a Chardonnay, both under $20, and this past summer we added a rosé as well. I'm not trying to set the wine world on fire. I'm just looking forward to sharing a part of my life that means something to me.
What sort of style were you aiming for?
When I lived in California in 1975, the wines were all light, crisp fruit; they didn't have that oaky, buttery heaviness they often have now. So I said to the Scheid family, my partner for Gifft Wines, "Let's make a Chardonnay that reminds me of the ones I remember from back then." But look, I’m not a wine expert—I’m a wine fan! I like the Beatles, I like the Beach Boys, I like Hoda, I like Regis, I like people who are fun, and I like wine.