Barrymore, whose personality is as sparkling and effervescent as champagne itself, can’t help but to bubble over with enthusiasm as she speaks about the business venture she’s been waiting a lifetime to create, Barrymore Wines.
“I love wine,” she enthuses. “I think it’s nice to do what you really love in life, occupationally and recreationally. Right now, I’m getting to do the things that I love and I’m so, so happy about it.”
Though it may seem like she lives a charmed life, Barrymore’s acting career and dedication to starting her own business can both be attributed to her strong work ethic.
“I didn’t just sit around and say ‘I love wine’ and expect it to fall in my lap,” she adamantly protests. “We worked hard to get this project up and running for many years. I don’t think you can just love things and be all whimsical and hopeful; you need to work hard as well.”
However, we all know that when you’re doing something you love, it rarely feels like work, and the same rings true for Drew: she enjoyed every step of the wine-making process.
“We went to Italy, we went to our vineyard, our bottling plants, we tried a lot of different wines,” she recalls of trips to Cremona in the region of Lombardy where her wine is produced at the Decordi winemaking facility.
Creating the Barrymore Wines label was also a highlight of the enterprise. “I loved being involved in making a label,” she gushes. “Wine labels are like record labels: they’re so cool.”
Barrymore’s label is hipper than most, given that she commissioned renowned street artist Shepard Fairey to make her mark. “I wanted to do something old and new, traditional and modern. I wanted it to have a gentleman’s business card feel, and taking it to Shepard felt such a cool way to go,” she explains.
In addition to being a cool move, the label genuinely reflects her personality, as there’s nothing Barrymore dislikes more than being disingenuous.
“I’m very leery of celebrity culture and I didn’t want this to be something that was tacky in a ‘Hey, I’m just throwing my name on this and putting it out there’ kind of way. I wanted to put it out there because wine is about tradition and family. Putting your name on something and having no idea how it came about if someone else did all the work— that’s not me.
“I wanted to do it in a ‘slow and steady wins the race’ kind of way,” she says. “Think big and act small, do it thoughtfully and not flashy. I would much rather have longevity with this than something that made a big splash. The wine is good enough that it deserves a chance to be discovered and respected.”
Though she might not have sought to make a splash, her 2011 Pinot Grigio is already winning rave reviews, even taking home a gold medal at the Le Challenge International du Vin in France this past April.
Barrymore seems almost bashful about the accolade, as if she still can’t believe she’s earned it. “I’m so shy and awkward!” she cries. “It’s such an honor and so prestigious.”
Though her label currently only produces the Pinot, Barrymore says she’s currently seeking to create the perfect red. As with the white, she will keep on trying and tasting until she gets it absolutely right.
“I’m still searching for my red. I don’t want to put anything out that I don’t feel a strong conviction about,” she says, adding, “Next, I’d like to make a nice, light Chianti to go with the Pinot, like a nice Italian couple. I want to put out something that doesn’t feel hodgepodge.”
Barrymore will no doubt create something that she herself would love to drink, perhaps with her favorite flavors of chocolate, tobacco and cherry— though you won’t be finding vinegary undertones in any botle she personally produces. “I like being surprised by a light red wine because I’m usually drawn to bold flavors, but I get really bad acid reflux and if it’s too vinegary, I get really turned off,” she reveals.
That said, there’s very little about the wine industry than can turn Drew off. After all, she is the same woman who took a ladies trip to Napa Valley—while pregnant—and lived vicarioiusly through her girlfriends by watching them drink her favorite libation. Her passion for wine is, indeed, true love—and is just one of the many reasons why she’s now decided to put her acting career on hold.
“I’m more into directing and photography, so I’m trying to focus on that,” she explains. “To be quite honest, I’m happy in my own life. I don’t need to play at being someone else right now. Acting is something I’ve done my whole life, but directing is great. I get to be in my own clothes and go home to my husband, and that seems really normal and fun and feels very creative. If I have a shot that I love and have total creativity without having to be sad, it’s a nice balance.”
Barrymore married Will Kopelman, an art consultant and son of former Chanel CEO Arie Kopelman, earlier this summer at her Montecito, Calif. home. As of press time, she had not yet given birth to the couple’s first child.
The Golden Globe winner has had a notoriously rocky relationship with her family, but impending motherhood has made her optimistic about the future.
“I didn’t have a traditional childhood. I did not have a strong family dynamic growing up, but I’m about to start a family of my own,” Barrymore says now. She continues, “I love my inlaws. I didn’t get to know or grow up with the Barrymores. They were in my face, but I didn’t know them. But at least I know I’m like them, that they were passionate about what they did.”
Though she hails from a family of actors (Drew is the granddaughter of John Barrymore, who was perhaps the most celebrated star of his generation), she doesn’t care whether or not her children follow in her artistic footsteps; she wants them to do what it is that they love.
“I can’t wait until I have my children,” she confesses. “I love the idea that they don’t have to do something that they have no interest in, that they can do something completely opposite if they want to. I will be so surprised if they don’t want to do something involving food or wine or art, but I’ll be OK with it. I just want to build fun, great things for my family.”
She continues, “I want to do it all. I love film, but I also love wine, food and traveling. I would love to be a travel writer. I’d be so stoked.”
While she has not yet achieved this paricular goal yet, we have no doubt that should Barrymore actually wish to make her dream a reality, then it will be so…and it will be done on her terms.
“I like to do things in a classy manner,” she admits. “With wine, it’s a really fun, classy, celebratory thing that breeds a nice, elegant maturity.”
Like the finest of wines, Barrymore herself has matured from a troubled child star to the confident, innovative woman you see today.
This metamorphosis occurred because Drew dared to dream, and she encourages others to do the same. “If there’s any chance to live the exact life that you want, go for it,” she urges. “Make it your life.”
When a woman who has gotten her every hearts desire speaks, we listen.