The idea of creating my own wine came to me when the Estonian community here in the US invited me to their annual Christmas party. The head of an organization called LEP-ESTO 2013 asked me if I wanted to participate in an ESTO 2013 event. This event will take place in San Francisco in the summer, and is created to celebrate the longest leg of Estonian freedom, which is 20 years. (On a side note, I’m actually older than my own country!)
ESTO 13 organizers wanted me to do something unusual and new for the Estonian community here in the USA. This is when I had the idea to bring the Estonian National Ballet to San Francisco. All I needed were creative ways to make my vision happen…
I wanted to conceive a product that has never existed before for public sale, and this is when the idea of a wine first occurred to me. I met with my friend John Newmeyer, who owns a winery in Napa and has been a long-time fan of ballet and Estonia. (He’s also the brother of movie star Julie Newmar!) He liked my vision and idea, so we set about making it happen.
As a concept, ‘ballet wine’ has never before been created for public sale. I wanted to make a ballet-oriented label, so I created “White Swan Chardonnay” and “Black Swan Pinot Noir.” Dancer and photographer Quinn Wharton took wonderful photos of me and Aleksandra Meijer in Swan Lake costumes for the label, which looked wonderful. After our liquor label license got approved we were good to go!
I tasted both wines many times and was very pleased with the outcome. This wine will entertain the pallette of snobby wine drinkers — including me! It is on sale now until March (when it will be discontinued,) and percentage of this limited edition of wine will go towards bringing the Estonian National Ballet to San Francisco next summer. My dream is to celebrate my country in San Francisco, while entertaining theatergoers.