Everybody knows that the best way to easy riches is by owning a winery. Bada-bum-bum. Rimshot! Joke. Okay, so the real joke is how do you make a million in the wine business? Start with four! Still not funny, yes I am aware.
Well these guys are real jokers in the regular world, but all of them have a serious side as well – presumably the one involved with their wine business because as we all know, wine is no joking matter.
There’s that old saying, “There’s a fine line between genius and insanity.” Now I’m not sure you’d consider any of these guys geniuses, but considering their forays into the wine business, I suggest they are each a little mad in their own ways.
These are comedians making wine, which ironically is a shorter list than celebrities making wine. This might be funny, if so much of their wine wasn’t so god-awful. Actually, that in itself is mildly amusing. So who can turn a phrase, handle a heckle, take a pratfall and still make something worth drinking? Let’s take a look.
You have to start with big Dan. He has the highest profile of any of these operations and is building a beverage empire. Not only does Dan have an interest in Crystal Head Vodka, but he also has been making wine in collaboration with DeLoach Vineyards and bottling it under the Dan Aykroyd Discovery Series label.
But it gets better. Dan also bottles Canadian wine under his eponymous label. Dan can supply all your vinous needs from Cabernet and Chardonnay, to Riesling and Pinot Noir. This funnyman’s wines are no laughing matter!
Pat Paulsen for President. Did I just date myself, no more than just mentioning Pat Paulsen, and who even remembers his wine? After all, Pat sold his eponymous winery (what is it with comedians and their love of eponynimity?) back in 1988!
The new owners did keep the winery’s name and Paulsen did travel to promote the wine, as well as his eternal run for the presidency, maintaining some interest in the Cloverdale property until 1992. Sadly, Pat passed in 1997. But his humor –and a few bottles of his award-winning wines – are still around to bring a smile to our faces.
The Smothers Brothers
Oddly enough, Pat Paulsen really exploded on the scene after being featured on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. And guess who is making wine. That’s right: Tommy Smothers, whose brother Dick founded the Smothers Winery in 1974! It’s now known as Remick Ridge.
This boutique winery has established a well-earned reputation for high quality wines. Production is tiny at around 500 cases, but the wines are worth a search!
Okay, we’re digging a bit deeper – even for me. We’re now talking rerun city: My Three Sons (Aw, come on, dad!). Yes, that Fred MacMurray! Between gigs during his wildly successful career, whose highlight must be the dad on My Three Sons, Fred MacMurray retreated to his Russian River Valley ranch.
Fred MacMurray never actually made wine during his lifetime, though he did raise Angus steer on his property (which he purchased in 1941) and was committed to keeping the land agricultural even after his death. In accordance with his wishes, the MacMurray family sold the property to Gallo in 1996. Gallo, in turn, created the MacMurray Ranch label for the wines that now come from the property, among them award-winning Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Okay, so I am cheating here. Carlos Santana is not a comedian; he is as an awesome guitarist whose devoted fans have been scarfing down his eponymous (maybe it’s just an entertainer’s thing?) sparkling wine like there’s no tomorrow.
Now why would I include his wines here, you might be asking. If you want a laugh, check out the reviews some of these fans have been leaving!