To say that Kathie Lee Gifford Is an icon in the entertainment biz would be a crazy understatement. Along with Regis Philbin, she pioneered daytime talks shows on Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee. From there, she moved to Today where she continues to bring it every morning over a glass of wine (or two) with Hoda Kotb.
In fact, it’s that love of wine that made her branch off from more than just a groundbreaking, helluva funny TV host, to proud owner of her very own wine brand: GIFFT Wines, which is what brings her to the 2015 Greenwich Wine +Food Festival. And, lucky us got the chance to interview her all about the big event, the kick off dinner with Geoffrey Zakarian, as well as being continually harassed by Joel McHale of The Soup, the incredible success of GIFFT Wine, her favorite spots for Connecticut dining, and news regarding her book, Good Gifts.
Check it out . . .
We love watching The Soup and especially love when Joel McHale jokes about you and Hoda drinking wine in the morning. But, we’re like you and think that wine is perfect at any place or any time. For instance, for breakfast in Barcelona, Spain we saw an old man outside drinking a bottle of wine and eating his breakfast at 10 . . . we thought that this guy has life figured out! If you had to give the perfect way to enjoy a glass of your wine, what would that be?
With THAT guy! Except we’d be drinking GIFFT!
Creating a wine is quite an undertaking for a busy woman such as yourself! What drove you to start GIFFT Wines last year?
A very smart man made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. He said, “You should be in the wine business.” And I responded, “Where have you been all my life?” He’d done his homework and partnered me with Scheid Vineyards. It was a perfect marriage of product and personality.
What was your favorite part of the experience of creating your own wine?
Without a doubt it was being at the actual beautiful vineyards with Heidi Scheid, Dave Nagengast, and the whole team at Scheid. We chose the wines we preferred, helped design the labeling and promotional materials. Being there with the actual grapes is a primal feeling. It goes back centuries and centuries. You feel one with it when you’re there.
GIFFT Wines has definitely grown in the last few years and we’re noticing your wine pop up in more and more stores. What do you attribute to your brand’s success and growth? What can you tell us about your newest wine, the Pinot Noir Rosé?
The quality of the wine itself is everything. People may buy the first bottle out of curiosity because of me but they certainly won’t buy the next unless the wine is exceptional and affordable. Thankfully it’s both.
Are there any new varietals to look forward to in the future?
We feel with the successful rollout of the rose that we’re in a really good place with the ones we have in place. We want to expend our energy on expanding our awareness of the brand. It’s a crowded field but we’re in it for the long haul!
We’re excited to have you for such a fun weekend in Greenwich–especially the kickoff dinner at J House! What kind of exciting things do you have planned with Geoffrey Zakarian?
I enjoy being with Geoffrey and he feeds me well! He likes my wine so what’s not to love? Who knows what we’ll “cook” up?
Speaking of Greenwich, we know you’re no stranger to the area. What are some of your favorite local restaurants?
I have many: Terra, Valbella, L’escale, Little Pub, J House…
And, finally, is there anything new that you’re working on that you want our readers to be aware of?
We’ll be re-issuing a book that I published last year to raise funds for the Salvation Army. It’s called Good Gifts. We’ve added some new pages to this edition-more recipes, photos and scriptures. It will be available in November at www.goodgiftsbook.org.