It leaves an acrid taste on the tongue. Imagining celebrity hash slinger/taster Guy Fieri as a vintner thoughtfully gargling his latest cabernet-merlot blend is like imagining Fieri in a toque blanche. Yet New York’s Daily News carries word of a report from a California paper, which on Monday officially noted: The stocky hipster, he of blond spikes and bling, has bought a five-acre vineyard of Pinot Noir grapes in Sonoma County.
Fieri said of the new endeavor:
Ever since I moved to Sonoma County and saw all this incredible environment of wine, from the agricultural side of it to the business side of it, to the community involvement side of it … I’ve just been in awe. So my wife and I were talking about it, and saying, ‘Can we do that some day?’
Some day is now – and the food community has responded as expected. The blog Eater wrote, “Who’s in the wine business now? Guy Fieri. Sorry.”
So what does the star of Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” intend to call the vineyard? Chateau Off the Hook doesn’t quite have the requisite ring for a serious winery. Fieri seems to have been aware of that himself, which is perhaps why he selected “Hunt and Ryde,” an amalgam of the names of his sons, Hunter and Ryder. Sounds a little like “hunt and peck,” but beggars – even fabulously rich beggars – can’t be choosers.
In fairness to Fieri, the wine industry has let its hair down in recent years, projecting a more casual image than it used to during its stuffy raised-pinky past. His brand might do fine, although cynics can’t help but note that one of his catch phrases – “out of bounds” – might be a pithy omen of the fate of his new venture.