“We believe in this brand” – Billboard
Monday night isn’t usually date time, but on June 6, Kylie Minogue brought a double dose of her effervescent energy to Manhattan’s intimate Café Carlyle. Not only has the Aussie pop icon reinvented a handful of her dance-pop classics for the chic, stripped-down cabaret setting, she’s officially popped the cork in the US on Kylie Minogue Wines, which is now hitting the markets. Americans after causing a sensation in Great Britain
If the crowd of friends and fans (including Lucy Liu, Christian Siriano and Dion Lee) were a bit stunned to be steps away from Ms Minogue when she started cooing the familiar la-la-la’s of the signature hit “Can’t Get You Out of My Head”, Kylie herself was a bit in awe of the whole experience.
“It was a real pinch moment for me,” she says Billboard the next day, relaxing on a sofa at the Carlyle Hotel in an elegant floral-print dress (as she offers guests wine, her glass – with a Watch what’s happening live guest place at a few hours – is filled with water). “I have these moments where I think, ‘you’re just this little boy from Melbourne who fantasized about doing something, anything in the industry one day.'”
Minogue, of course, has enjoyed quite a varied career, acting in everything from hit soap operas to red Mill while racking up sales to the tune of 80 million records worldwide and earning 14 No. 1s on Dance Club Songs. And like any self-respecting pop star, she’s dabbled in the world of branding — though she’ll readily admit that not all partnerships are created equal.
“I won’t say (what), but some things that I did, at that time, it made sense or I had to do it. But – if i could turn back timeshe sings, putting some Kylie flair on the Cher classic. “But hey – you win some, you lose some.”
In the winning category, indisputably, its association with London’s Benchmark Drinks on its own rosé. In less than two years, she has sold five million bottles, seen her prosecco rosé become the UK’s best-selling branded prosecco rosé and won a Golden Vine Award for her entrepreneurial spirit. She credits the brand’s meteoric success – which first crossed her mind when a ray of sunshine caught a glass of rosé she was enjoying in Nashville while taping 2018 Golden — to the fact that this partnership taps into his genuine affection for the drink in question.
“It’s not just a collaboration with anything. We believe in growing this brand,” she says. “People can smell authenticity. They just know it. It wouldn’t have been any use doing it if I wasn’t really invested in it and felt like it could do something and touch people.
With a rosé-centric palette and an “obsessive-to-detail” approach to business, Minogue worked with Benchmark Managing Director Paul Schaafsma to select its portfolio of wine brands (three of its nine rosés are available in markets such as as California, Florida, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Texas and Ohio), claiming it was the “kismet” that brought them together.
Although Minogue acknowledges that she is a relative newcomer to the wine industry, her decades in the entertainment world have taught her not to “jump into an industry” and expect to be treated like a star simply. “because you are famous and respected in another industry”. Pay your respects and earn your stripes and be open to learning something else. (With a smirk, she acknowledges that immersing herself in the world of vines and winemakers is “not the worst day at work.”)
But even with all the research and planning that has gone into this venture, Minogue fears there might be some trepidation about launching it in the UK in 2020, just as the pandemic took hold. “With [my 2020 album] Disco and wine, I thought, “Is it insensitive to release something that represents joy at this time?” “Minogue of course launched both the wine and the album that year, and the fan response to the Disco the album reflected UK consumer response to his rosé; during uncertain and stressful times, a burst of bubbly excitement – whether in a glass bottle or three-minute dance-pop anthems – was a welcome release. “The Disco album, it turns out, touched a lot of people. Every time someone says that to me, it means a lot to me,” says Minogue.
As for new music, she says she’s heading back into the studio in July, noting that an unexpected benefit of the lockdown has been learning to self-record on gear at home: “It means I can check in late, which I like to do”. She adds. And whenever the next tour takes place, will bottles of Kylie Minogue Rosé be on hand at tour stops? “It’s like you took the words out of my mouth,” she laughs.