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Formula One star Daniel Ricciardo’s career has always been about getting to the finish line in the quickest time possible, but his new project sees the Australian champ steering his talents towards a decidedly slower pace.
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Ricciardo has teamed up with Australian wine brand St Hugo to bring his DR3 x St Hugo wine collection to the U.S. for the very first time this fall. The vintages include a 2018 Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon and the DR3 x St Hugo 2020 South Australia Shiraz.
The Maclaren F1 team member first teased the new releases at a dinner after the Miami Grand Prix last month, telling guests that winemaking is a “true craft, just like our sport.”
“F1 is so detail-specific and we break down every corner and every path,” he explained, over sips and small bites at Gitano Miami. “So I bonded with our winemaker over all the steps needed to make the perfect wine.”
Though he’s been toying with the idea of launching a wine for years, Ricciardo says it was actually being stuck at home during the pandemic that inspired him to get the DR3 brand off the ground (the “3” is Ricciardo’s F1 racing number. “[Winemaking] was always something I was interested in, and the older I got and the more I started to travel, the more I acquired the taste and appreciation for wine,” he tells Rolling Stone. “I’ve also been quite particular to let people know that racing is not everything I do,” he continues. “It’s my biggest passions but I love so many other things and have other hobbies and interests. So when Covid hit, I was like ‘Alright, let’s see what we can do.'”
Ricciardo quickly found a partner in Peter Munro, the Chief Winemaker at St Hugo and one of the best-known producers in Australia. Together, they selected the grapes and blends that would lead to the first DR3 x St Hugo release, an elegant 2020 South Australian Shiraz. It sold out in a week.
Now, Ricciardo is bringing his wine to the U.S. starting with the Shiraz and a Cabernet Sauvignon. Calling it a “sophisticated, high-end product,” the wines will retail for $80 at select locations across the country. St Hugo says future DR3 x St Hugo vintages will be released annually as part of a long-term partnership between the brand and driver.
For his part, Ricciardo says it was important for him to find a partner — and product — that he could actually connect with. “In the past, I probably said yes to things that maybe I wasn’t that passionate about,” he admits. “But now, at this point in my career, I just want to do things that I really have an interest in, and things that I can speak genuinely about.”
To wit: the 32-year-old says wine has long been a passion of his, having inherited an appreciation for wine through his father. “It was always part of growing up and reminds me of being with family and being with my dad,” he shares. “It sounds silly, but wine was something for my dad and I to bond over, just like we bond over race cars. If he travels the world to see me race, we go out for dinner after, talk about the wine list, and it’s become another way for us to make some memories together.”
Ricciardo says he’s also imparted his love for wine to the people around him. “Now, whether I’m with my immediate team or people I meet, it normally involves like a nice bottle of wine,” he says. “Normally, like on a Sunday night after a race, I’ll book a nice dinner for everybody and we’ll have a nice glass of wine, to help wind down a little bit.”
Of course, wine is just one of many passions Ricciardo is excited to explore outside of racing. His other love: music. “A hobby of mine is finding new bands and new music,” he admits. “I was big into Soundcloud.”
The driver’s current pump-up playlist is fittingly aggressive for someone who’s hurtling around a track at more than 200 miles per hour. “I listen to ‘Yonkers’ by Tyler the Creator,” Ricciardo reveals. “It’s just like a very filthy song; there’s a lot of profanity,” he laughs, “but it just pumps me up.”
His other go-to: “It’s an old song, but I like ‘Jesus Christ’ by Brand New,” he says, of the rock band’s 2006 hit. “It’s a bit slower but there’s a line in there where it’s like, ‘I know you’ll come for people like me,’ and it kind of makes me want to fight for something. So I’ll take little things out of different songs,” he says.
Ricciardo, who splits his time between Los Angeles, Monaco and Perth, is also discovering a surprising affinity for a new genre. “During Covid, I spent most of the time on my ranch in Australia and I got a lot more into country music,” he reveals, citing artists like Ryan Bingham and Zach Bryan as favorites. “And there’s a band that’s amazing called The Teskey Brothers who aren’t exactly country, but do this bluesy, rock thing like from the Seventies,” he offers. “They’re these modern young Australia guys doing awesome music.”
Could we ever see a Daniel Ricciardo album or musical collab? The driver hits the brakes on that suggestion: “My mom bought me a harmonica for Christmas, but just to mess around,” he says. “And I want to do singing lessons,” he continues, “but mostly just for fun and mainly so I don’t make people’s ears bleed when I get up to sing.”
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