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Nina Dobrev and Julianne Hough are the latest celebrities to get into the wine business. Unveiling the debut of their wine label Fresh Vine Wine today, the duo have built a brand around bottling up their friendship and the many moments they indulge in wine to connect, while still staying loyal to their health lifestyle goals.
The pair met roughly eight years ago through their hairstylist, Riawna Capri, and have been fast friends ever since. (The closeness of their friendship, in fact, is noted in Hough’s Wikipedia bio.)
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“We really have gone through so much together, life changes, experiences,” Hough says over a Zoom call Friday afternoon with Dobrev on the line. “And we know each other inside and out; we balance each other out in so many different ways and we have things that we’re interested in that are similar and things that are [different]. But one thing that we really do bond over is our values. And so being able to find something that we both really value and bring in our own unique abilities and skill sets…we wanted to create a product that was indicative of who we are individually and collectively as friends.”
“And it’s really great because it feels like we’re growing together and this felt like a great natural step to the next sophisticated chapter in our lives,” Dobrev adds.
Hough, a self-described homebody, loves their nights spent one-on-one at home on the couch, a fire going, string lights lit, talking.
“Some of the best times are the individual times. I really love when it’s just, like, Nina and I hanging out on the couch talking and reminiscing over life and experiences or in the backyard,” Hough says.
“See, my brain went to a different place Jules,” Dobrev tells her. “My brain went to when we were in Cabo on that girl’s trip that got progressively more and more unhinged after every glass.”
“And that’s why I was saying we both have very different experiences that bring it together to balance it out,” Hough tells her.
Fresh Vines launches with a California cabernet sauvignon, a California chardonnay and a California pinot noir, with a rosé soon to come this summer. All bottled in Napa through vineyard partners, the wines are low-carb, low-calorie, gluten-free, keto and vegan, meant to adhere to the lifestyle Hough mentioned above where friends can have a night together without the ensuing hangover.
“We’re two best friends that have a lot in common and we just want to share in the joys of life and the ups and downs and through this last year,” Hough says. “Especially having time together, and really figuring out who we are, what our enjoyments are, figuring out this life and being able to do that all while having the comfort of a glass of wine in hand and unwinding and chilling out and not feeling like, ‘I’m going to have like a massive hangover tomorrow.’”
“We were bonded initially by similar core values and lifestyles, and we both work incredibly hard during the day and in the night, it’s kind of hard to turn off,” Dobrev says. “And so we really bonded not only working hard, but also finding time to enjoy life and all the little things that come with it.”
The pair say they’ve been developing the brand for a while, with the company in beta to allow for consumer feedback, but the pandemic both gave them the time to really focus on bringing it to life and also to appreciate moments spent together enjoying each other’s company all the more.
“One of the things that [COVID-19] taught us was you have to appreciate every single moment with the people who are in your life and not take anything for granted,” Dobrev says. “And we’ve always done that through unwinding with wine in the evenings — or if it’s a Friday afternoon in this case, especially in COVID-19 maybe a little earlier than we would normally pop open a bottle of wine. But we prioritize working hard and also, enjoying everything that life has to offer for us.”
The two spent the early days of the pandemic having Zoom wine nights before, once feeling safer, becoming each other’s bubble buddies and having in-person wine dates. To them, Fresh Vines is not just a wine brand but also a wellness company, built upon values of health and enjoyment. (The promotional photos for the launch show them both enjoying a glass on a couch and also doing yoga, wine nearby.)
“We’ve always wanted to create a wine company and create a wellness brand that reflects who we are and reflects our values; you can be active and healthy and happy and have a wonderful life and still indulge in those kinds of things,” Dobrev says. “Having a good time, having a wine that pairs with your healthy lifestyle in that it has a lot of health benefits and it doesn’t make you feel guilty when you have a wine.”
With their first trip up to Napa to see the vineyard coming up in a few weeks, both are eager to get even more hands on.
“Even the little details like the website and choosing images and color palettes that match the tone of what experience we want people to have…it’s just so much more involved and it feels so fun,” Dobrev says. “I hope that this feeling lasts forever because it’s very intoxicating. No pun intended.”
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