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WINE & SPITITS LEADERS

An Interview with Jesse Bongiovi,
Founder, The Hampton Water Wine Co.

 

EDITORS’ NOTE

A New Jersey native, Jesse Bongiovi spent nearly every summer of his youth vacationing with his family in East Hampton, New York. This is where his love for the bon vivant lifestyle was born. His lifelong affection for the Hamptons is what motivated him to create Hampton Water, a four-time 90 point rated rosé (Wine Spectator) that was recently featured on Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 of 2021 list. Bongiovi is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, where he received a degree in political science, as well as a minor in business economics.

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COMPANY BRIEF

The vision for The Hampton Water Wine Co. ( hamptonwaterwine.com ) began when Jon Bon Jovi and his son, Jesse Bongiovi, were introduced to Gérard Bertrand, and the three quickly developed a shared vision – to create a unique rosé that elevates the category by unapologetically challenging premium norms and unites the essence of the relaxed lifestyles of the Hamptons and the South of France. Crafted by Gérard Bertrand, grapes are sourced from the best terroirs in Languedoc. Specifically choosing from his superior plots, the result is an elegant and unique expression of southern French rosé.

What was the vision for creating The Hampton Water Wine Co. and how do you define its mission?

We wanted to create a wine that was both aspirational and accessible. When we first came up with the concept, we looked at the category and realized that so many of our favorite rosés were so snobby and unattainable, especially for a younger crowd, but really anyone that was new to wine. We wanted Hampton Water to be fun, easy, and not take itself too seriously.

Will you provide an overview of Hampton Water’s offerings?

ESimply put, we make the world’s favorite rosé. We are a master of one and we plan to be exactly that for the foreseeable future.

How is Hampton Water positioned in the market?

We are a premium rosé, but at the $19.99 price point it is a premium item that can be enjoyed by anyone. However, we always try to speak in a way that is welcoming and approachable. Wine can be intimidating and we would hate to turn someone off because they feel like it’s too complicated.

How do you define the Hampton Water difference?

There are a few. We are different because our wine is not grown in the same region as most other French wines – Languedoc vs. Provence, France. We have higher ratings than pretty much everyone in the category – 90 points four years in a row, two top 100 ratings. We have a spirits world view. By that we do things like host cocktail competitions, rosé pong live streams, and have been known to throw a pool party here and there.

Will you highlight the strength of the Hampton Water team?

For me, a work/life balance is key. We all work incredibly hard, but I also know that it’s important to be at your kids’ sporting events and present during family vacations. I always encourage our team to put down the phone for a few days and really spend your time off, off. At the end of the day, Hampton Water has always been about creating memories and spending time with those that you love. We want everyone on our team to be able to live that as well.

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Did you always know that you had an entrepreneurial spirit and desire to build your own business?

I was always attracted to the bootstrap entrepreneurial ideal. When I first left school, I started work at a company called Slice. It’s an app that gets mom and pop pizza places on the internet. I loved the fast pace, I loved the fail fast attitude, and I realized there that a job didn’t have to be corporate. That experience made me believe that I could follow my dream and start my own business.

What are your priorities for Hampton Water as you look to the future?

Brand awareness is key for us right now. The category is crowded and if we don’t stand out, we will fade away like many have before us. We do everything we can to make noise. If you check out our TikTok, you’ll see what I mean. I can’t picture too many other wine brands doing the stuff we do, or at the very least putting it out on the internet.

Click here to download a PDF of An Interview with Jesse Bongiovi,Founder, The Hampton Water Wine Co.

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