Martha Stewart Introduces 19 Crimes Chardonnay — and Empowers You to Put Ice in Your Wine

"Nobody minds it anymore, even fine winemakers," says Martha Stewart, who recently launched her new wine Martha's Chard

Martha Stewart teams up with 19 Crimes on a new wine
Photo: 19 Crimes

Martha Stewart knows good wine, so when creating her own, she wasn't going to settle for anything less than perfect.

The lifestyle expert recently debuted 19 Crimes Martha's Chard, the brand's first California Chardonnay. It's something Stewart says took about 20 iterations to get right.

"I have very strong ideas about what a Chardonnay should be," she tells PEOPLE exclusively. "I have not really been a big fan of the oaky, overly buttery Chardonnays that exist. I thought Chardonnay in America needed a little bit of a redesign."

"So that's what we were attempting to do — a kind of redesign and to simplify and make a very palatable white wine that would sell like crazy," she adds.

Martha Stewart teams up with 19 Crimes on a new wine
19 Crimes

Martha's Chard is available in California now and will be sold nationwide on Feb. 1 for $11.99.

For more on Martha Stewart, listen below to our daily podcast on PEOPLE Every Day.

Before going to market, Stewart tested the vino on close confidants and even took a case to the Dominican Republic on vacation to serve to friends.

"The big majority of the people who tested the wine agreed with me. They chose my version, the final version, over the 19 Crimes version. So I was really pleased," she says.

Stewart, 80, is "not a big drinker," she says. "I never have been." She'll have a glass of wine or two with dinner and has a trick to keep herself from going overboard that was long considered a wine faux pas.

"I will put ice in my wine," Stewart explains. "I extend the glass quite a bit by the addition of ice cubes."

"Nobody minds it anymore, even fine winemakers," the etiquette expert says. "I met the man who makes the best Sauterne, and he encouraged me to add ice to it! He said, 'It's fine. Don't worry about it, Martha. We're not going to get insulted. We know the taste is there. The flavor is there. The fineness is there. You can add ice to it, of course.' So, that's how I extend a glass of wine. But, I like to serve my beautiful Martha's Chard icy cold."

Martha Stewart teams up with 19 Crimes on a new wine
19 Crimes

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

19 Crimes also partners with Snoop Dogg, Stewart's friend and cohost of Martha & Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party, so he was "absolutely" a big part of getting Stewart on board with the brand, she says.

"They went to him first to do his Cali Red. Then they did his Cali Rosé. It was so popular!" says Stewart. "That was one of the biggest launches ever in the wine industry. If mine equals that launch, boy am I going to be happy."

Related Articles