And yes, there's a rosé.

By Mike Pomranz
June 29, 2020
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The music industry is notoriously tough, and from merch to licensing, artists are often looking for ways to expand their portfolios beyond recorded songs. Recently, wine brands have become increasingly popular—in the past few months alone, we’ve covered launches from Snoop Dogg, Post Malone, and Kylie Minogue. And now, one of the most popular R&B artists of the past three decades is getting into the wine game: Mary J. Blige.

Sun Goddess Wines

Launching today, Sun Goddess Wines is billed as “an exclusive collection of limited-edition wines” created in partnership between the singer and Italy’s Fantinel Winery. “A dear friend introduced me to Marco Fantinel referring to him as the producer of the best Pinot Grigio in the world. After walking through the vineyards and tasting with the Fantinel family, I felt extremely connected to the place, and more importantly, the people,” Blige said in the announcement. “In that moment, I felt the same magical energy I have long tried to capture from the sun and knew this was an incredible opportunity to partner with someone who shared that passion and together we could try to create something that evoked that feeling.”

Sun Goddess Wines

For now, the collection is just two wines: a Pinot Grigio Ramato (Rosè) and an Italian Sauvignon Blanc—both produced in Friuli Venezia Giulia during the 2019 vintage. According to the winery, they’ve only produced only 15,000 cases of Ramato and just 5,000 cases of the Sauvignon Blanc, with Blige getting involved throughout the process.

“Wine tasting has always one of Mary’s passions. She is particularly fond of white wine and Pinot Grigio is her favorite varietal,” Marco Fantinel, CEO of Fantinel Winery, told me.  “Mary was very involved in all operations—from the name to the design to the taste. Sun Goddess is a true reflection of her personality.”

It’s also a reflection of her childhood. “Mary has always loved the sun and, even as a little child, she adored sunbathing and trying to capture the sun’s warmth and energy. That’s why her mother’s nickname for her was ‘Sun Goddess,’” Fantinel said, explaining the origins of the name.

As for the wines themselves, the Pinot Grigio Ramato is described as having “a beautiful pinkish tinge,” and tastes “intense and complex, offering a full-bodied and elegantly crisp finish with hints of peach, melon and blackberry scents.” Meanwhile, the Sauvignon Blanc is “comprised purely of hand-picked Sauvignon Blanc grapes harvested from the foothills of the Dolomite mountains,” resulting in an “intensely aromatic” wine “with a velvety smoothness.”

Both wines have a suggested retail price of $19.99. They are available starting today in select stores in New York and New Jersey or as an online presale nationwide on Wine.com. The winery says bottles will see wider distribution in stores across the country starting in August.

As for the future, asked whether they plan to release more vintages or expand the product line, Fantinel told me they are moving at their own pace. “At this time, we are working to establish the brand and these two wines in the U.S.,” he said, “but will look at possible international distribution and expansion in the future.”