Mellow Moods

Kurt Russell talks about his passion for making wine
Frank Grice learns about the two loves in his life

Kurt Russell’s love of vineyard life is second only to his admiration for longtime partner Goldie Hawn as the couple closes in on four decades together. Goldie and Kurt are rare examples of strong-willed, independent-minded individuals who have a deeper commitment to each other than their own selfish desires.

Happily unmarried for 38 years, they have enjoyed the type of emotional and spiritual bonds that few Hollywood couples are able to sustain.

“When you find someone you truly connect with, you know you have to protect and reserve that connection for yourself,” he says.

Kurt is most famous for films such as Escape from New York, Tequila Sunrise, Miracle, The Hateful Eight and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

He explains: “That’s how I’ve felt about Goldie from the very first time I spoke to  and got to know her; and it’s still how I feel. People point to the fact that we aren’t married but we’ve always said true love doesn’t require a piece of paper… it only needs attention, love and lots of humour!”

“You know, a marriage contract makes it easier to stay together. Yet, a lack of one shows a deliberate act of choosing – and I think that’s very special,” Kurt affirms.

It’s fair to say that they are no less passionate about each other today as they were when they went on their first date while working on the film Swing Shift in 1983.

Part of what keeps the couple so intertwined is their mutual love of wine. It all began when Kurt and Goldie began taking bicycle tours through vineyards in Bordeaux, Bourgogne, Tuscany and the Napa Valley in the late 1990s.

On what were seen as ‘romantic family adventures’ initially, Goldie’s daughter actress Kate Hudson and younger brother Oliver accompanied them. The time spent tasting and exploring some of the world’s greatest wine estates and cellars has left an indelible impression on them… and Kurt in particular.

“Goldie and I loved taking those tours through the hills, which were not only magical landscapes but also places where so many great wines were being produced. I didn’t know much about wine except that there was something very special about the romance and beauty of it. Because of that, I began to study wine and the art of winemaking,” reveals Russell.

Kurt’s love of Pinot produced a simmering interest in the art of winemaking, which rapidly intensified to the point where he was ready to become a fully-fledged vigneron. This move was helped by the sprawling vineyards he found around him while shooting Death Proof in the Santa Rita Hills north of Santa Barbara in 2007.

“Whenever I had a free day or afternoon away from the shoot, I went around and tasted wines. I discovered some fantastic wines and thought to myself: ‘Wait, I’m barely two hours from home!’” he recalls.

Russell continues: “While waiting for a scene to be shot, I found myself looking at this vineyard, daydreaming and thinking: ‘I’d love to own a vineyard; I’d love to make my own wine.’”

“The next year, I met the people who owned a vineyard in the Santa Rita Hills and was soon on my way to making a Burgundian-style Pinot noir! It’s simply gone on from there,” he elaborates.

Today, Russell’s GoGi Wines estate, which is based in Los Alamos, produces an impressive selection of elegant Pinot noirs and Chardonnays. He’s even named one particular vintage – ‘GoGi Chardonnay Goldie 2012’ – after Goldie Hawn, who attends several food and wine events every year alongside him to promote the GoGi label.

Kurt discloses: “Nowhere on it, other than the back, is my name. This is not a situation of a celebrity horribly slapping a label on a bottle and making a claim. Anything that has to do with wine, I love it. I preferred the fun that I was having doing that to the screenplays I was reading.”

“It’s been a natural evolution for me and GoGi has taken off. I make a really good high end Pinot. They have my wine at the best restaurants around Disneyland, Disney World and Shanghai Disneyland Park. It’s all over Los Angeles and San Francisco. My wine label is growing and I’m very proud of it,” he declares.

While the elegance of the wine industry has moved the iconic actor away from the big screen, Russell makes sure he comes back to the studio to film at least one new project each year.

“I’m relaxed about the whole thing; I don’t need the commotion or intensity of Hollywood,” he says, almost ignoring the fact that he starred in F9, the Fast and Furious project last year that grossed more than three quarters of a billion dollars at the box office.

Kurt concludes: “I have a different focus these days – wine has taken me away from a lot of the chaos.”

– Compiled by hub.branded

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