Kathie Lee Gifford and her co-host Hoda Kotb frequently kick off the segement every morning in the 10 a.m. hour of NBC’s Today Show with wine in hand. Bottlenotes CEO Alyssa Rapp has even joined them on a few occasions (see her segment chatting stemware with Hoda here and summer pool and bbq wines here). Their sipping ways are so expected that they have even been satirized for their morning boozin’ on Saturday Night Live, and by Jimmy Fallon and Jay Leno among others.
It makes sense, therefore, that Kathie Lee went into the wine business herself. She recently launched GIFFT, wine from estate grown grapes in Monterey, California, produced with the help of the Scheid family of winemakers.
We chatted a bit with Kathie Lee by email about her love of wine and why she started GIFFT. Keep reading for our exclusive interview with this TODAY Show icon.
The Daily Sip: What's your wine philosophy--is wine part of the meal or is it celebratory?
Kathie Lee Gifford: It's a lovely combination of both with an emphasis on celebratory. It's about friends and family being together. Our tagline for GIFFT is "Friendship, love, laughter...it's a GIFFT," and that's what wine is to me, a gift.
TDS: When did you first become interested in wine?
KLG: I think I come by it naturally having been born in Paris where my parents first incorporated it into our lives. I have wonderful memories of simple meals or sumptuous feasts that always included wine.
TDS: What's your favorite wine region to visit?
KLG: I adore Tuscany but in America it's got to be Monterey County! The region is so diverse and the wines are just so drinkable.
TDS: In addition to GIFFT of course, do you have a house or favorite wine you drink regularly?
KLG: Not anymore! Pretty much all GIFFT, all the time! In warm weather we sometimes enjoy a Domaine Ott Rosé for a change of pace.
TDS: You have a red blend and a chardonnay now at GIFFT. Are there plans for more varietals down the road?
KLG: The Scheid family and I have discussed adding another varietal to GIFFT and there are some wonderful possibilities. Pinot noir would be a logical one, since the Monterey winegrowing region is known for producing truly outstanding pinots. GIFFT wines are all estate grown from the Scheid's vineyards in Monterey County, so it's really about deciding which wine fits best for the GIFFT consumer....and, of course, which wine I get excited about drinking!