Jon Bon Jovi Loves France and Wine (and Now Has His Own Label)
Posted February 6, 2018 4:20 p.m. EST
Jon Bon Jovi, 55, has been a rocker for more than three decades, but that doesn’t mean he is slowing down.
On March 14, his band Bon Jovi kicks off a two-month tour in the United States and Canada, and on April 14, the band will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, in Cleveland. But first, in mid-February, Bon Jovi and his son, Jesse Bongiovi, 22, will release a rosé wine, Diving into Hampton Water (the name is an homage to their Hamptons home). They collaborated with French winemaker Gérard Bertrand; the wine is produced in France’s Languedoc-Roussillon region.
“It’s a favorite in our household because you can drink it starting with lunch and into the evening, and we enjoy lots of it whenever we travel,” Bon Jovi said.
Over lunch at Wild, a gluten-free restaurant in Manhattan’s West Village, he spoke about how he discovered a new part of France through the process of producing the wine and about his travels in general; Jesse was there, too.
Following are edited excerpts from a conversation with Bon Jovi.
Q: You and Jesse visited Languedoc-Roussillon for your wine project. What was your impression of the region?
A: I have been to the Côte d’Azur at least 30 times before but never to this region, which is also in the south of France. It’s a storybook area with castles and ruins and rolling hills, and I really loved the architecture. Also, you’re not really going to find any chain restaurants there. We dined at all tiny, family-run places, and I ate a lot of seafood, especially shellfish. Americans haven’t discovered this part of France yet, and it was a pleasure to discover. Growing up in New Jersey, I’ve been preaching my whole life that you have to get out to find the beautiful places in this world.
Q: How much are you on the road for work?
A: Rock ‘n’ roll is cyclical. You do a record and you support it (by going on tour), and then it could be two years before you’re out on the road again.
Q: When you’re on tour, what kind of hotels do you like to stay at?
A: I need simplicity because I’m in a different hotel every day, so the biggest suite is a waste because I can’t use it. But I do need a hotel with a gym and a humidifier for my room. I also don’t want any flowers in my room because they give me allergies.
Q: Do you have a favorite hotel?
A: The Peninsula in Chicago is my favorite in the U.S. Everything about it is awesome — the gym, the bar, the restaurant and the beds in the rooms.
Q: What are some of your favorite spots in the Hamptons? And how do you spend your time there?
A: I’m one of the owners of the Blue Parrot (a Mexican restaurant in East Hampton) so that’s a clubhouse for me. And there’s a market called Round Swamp Farm, which has fresh vegetables, great flowers and amazing homemade meals. I also love to eat at Topping Rose. We live on Main Beach (in East Hampton), and we’re out in the ocean and on the sand every day. The Hamptons is an outdoor life — we go on beach walks, and I’m an avid runner. I also go bicycling.
Q: Besides the Hamptons, where else do you enjoy vacationing?
A: We’ve been going to St. Barts for years. I actually honeymooned there in 1989. We rented a house then. We’ve also gone to the British Virgin Islands, Mustique, the Caymans, St. Kitts and Turks and Caicos. In the summer, we go to Europe. We’ve done Turkey and Italy and Greece. We’ll usually go along the coast in a boat.
Q: Given the hurricanes that affected the Caribbean in 2017, will you still vacation there this year?
A: Absolutely. I want to support the region and the economy as much as I can. I’d go to St. Barts immediately.