The ladies on Lifetime’s Drop Dead Divas are constantly drinking vino. Which is why co-star Ben Feldman, who’s appeared on the show since the beginning, has fruitlessly spent years “begging” Divas’ producers to put his own wine—a Syrah made from Central Coast grapes that he and childhood friend Eduardo Porto Carreiro sell under the name Angelica Cellars—on the program. “There was always so much red tape,” he says. “I’d bring empty bottles and they’d always use these fake ones created by the prop guys instead. I don’t know if it was an issue on Lifetime’s end or [production company] Sony’s end. But it never happened.”
Yet his latest gig, as the brilliant Jewish copywriter Michael Ginsberg on Mad Men, might be making up for it. “This Mad Men thing is really helping out,” he says. “There’s been extra attention [on the brand] since I’ve been on the show.”
Feldman started Angelica Cellars in 2005 with Carreiro, who was the wine director and sommelier at Neal Fraser’s since-shuttered Grace on Beverly Blvd. before moving on to run the pour program at Sang Yoon’s Asian sensation Lukshon in Culver City. The duo source their grapes from Santa Barbara’s White Hawk Vineyard and then work on the fermentation and everything else at a facility in Sonoma County. “One of my favorite things to do is just sorting and crushing, digging through, sorting stems, eating berries,” he says.
Angelica Cellars isn’t a mere vanity project. Proof: Providence, Street and Spago have picked up the brand. Next week Sean MacPherson’s about-to-debut take on the British gastropub, the Pikey, will begin serving it as well.
“Sometimes I worry that people are going to think he’s just some actor who has some hobby and wants to be cool,” says Feldman, whose own favorite L.A. wine bar is Covell in Los Feliz. “But a lot of people have liked our Syrah more than bottles with a lot of Parker points on them!”