Sarah Jessica Parker Toasts "Rogue" Sauvignon Blanc Collaboration

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Sarah Jessica Parker

“I’ve turned my back on Chardonnay,” joked the 'Sex and the City' actress on the launch of her new wine, who went on to discuss entrepreneurship.

In conversation with SHE Media CEO Samantha Skey, Sarah Jessica Parker on Wednesday took to the stage of the BlogHer Creator’s Summit in Brooklyn, wearing a silver dress and her black SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker pumps, to talk about her latest entrepreneurial venture. That would be a Sauvignon Blanc, in collaboration with New Zealand-based wine company Invivo & Co. “I had not ever pondered about producing a Sauvignon Blanc,” the actress admitted to the crowd. “I thought it was a complicated wine and I felt like people had very strong opinions about it, so I just used to stick to Chardonnay.”

Meeting the two men behind Invivo Wines, Rob Cameron and Tim Lightbourne, changed Parker's perception and got her excited about the white wine she previously found to be intimidating. “They taught me all about it, and we talked about what we wanted to achieve, how this Sauvignon Blanc wouldn’t feel rarefied and forbidden. We got to blend an unusual, yet surprisingly rogue, Sauvignon Blanc,” she says. “And I’m mad for it. I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to say that when the first bottle arrived. But it’s delectable!” 

The 54-year-old star has been hands-on throughout the winemaking process, from designing the name and label (which pays homage to her signature sign-off, X SJP, seen in her Instagram posts). The first bottle, Invivo X, Sarah Jessica Parker Sauvignon Blanc, officially hits shelves this week ($18-$20), and the actress painted the X on the original bottle in a teal color that matches a favorite hue in her namesake shoe line.

It was her sense of smell, put to use for her perfume range, that guided Parker in the wine-making process. The result was a blend that boasts notes of grapefruit, honeysuckle flower, passionfruit and citrus zest. “The wine has a bouquet and so it has fragrance to it, too. You respond to it," says Parker. "I felt that, in the blending we did in May. And smell is subjective. The two [smell and taste] are hand and glove, and so that made it more enjoyable for me because I love smell. I have a child that is the same way. It’s one of the reasons why I love traveling to places that are foreign. What we smell when we travel to places that are not familiar to us tells you a lot about the culture, the traditions, even the religion of the place.”

The wine is the latest in Parker’s entrepreneurial pursuits. “I don’t think I’ve ever considered myself a brand,” she says. “Nor do I think of myself as having one, or heading toward one, or shaping one. Primarily I’ve been someone who’s incredibly curious about things in the world and I’ve been asked to participate.”

As for her acquired business acumen, Parker says: “When I did Sex and the City, [creator] Darren Star said early on, ‘You should be a producer.’ I’d never produced and he said, ‘Just learn, be a consultant the first year, come to all the meetings,’ That was a gateway. I spent a year learning and then working as a producer with [directors] Michael Patrick King and John David Coles. We were handling every aspect of producing and you learn all of it; it involves numbers and budgets and unions and complicated people and easy people. When I left Sex and the City, I became interested in business outside of that. I felt like I’d dealt with high stakes already, and I had the experience to be thoughtful or decadent or prudent when it required.”

Acknowledging that she’s had a lot of doors open for her because of her star status, the actress says: “I know that, as a somewhat public person, it’s easier for me to call somebody blind, without the intro, and ask for help or information. I know that makes it easier and that intro is less terrifying."

On leadership, Parker says: “I was on the phone with a woman who was once a babysitter and now she’s a big deal, getting ready to produce for the first time. We were talking and I said, ‘Listen, make sure you always have information all the time. The more you have, the more you know, and the more you feel equipped to be part of the conversation. The more you feel like you’re meant to be in the room.’ And don’t have side conversations. Keep everybody included so that you are always the person who is keeping a group of people working together.”

When asked about how she keeps her life balanced as a mother of three, Parker responds: “Whenever I am asked this very generous question, I always have to ask, 'How do women in this country, who are working two or three jobs with no support, no help from the government, how do they do it?' Not how am I doing it.”

Before leaving the stage, Parker toasted the crowd with a glass of her Sauvignon Blanc, wishing each of the women there the fulfillment of each of their dreams. Hear, hear.