Mary J. Blige Says She Started Her Wine Business to 'Give Something Beautiful to the World' During Quarantine
The Grammy-winning singer says her latest business endeavor has been a "labor of love."
"Sun Goddess was birthed to the world during the pandemic," Blige, 50, said on Tuesday evening, when she joined TJ Douglas, founder and co-owner of Boston wine store Urban Grape, for a virtual event to discuss her journey into the industry. "During the first quarantine, everybody was going through it. To give something so beautiful to the world at a time when they needed it, it made everyone smile."
The event was also in support of the Urban Grape Wine Studies Award, which raises money to have a person of color attend wine school at Boston University.
When asked about creating her own space in an industry that lacks diversity, Blige gave some sound advice. "I say don't be afraid to be who you are. Be original. Be you," said Blige. "I say be true to you in everything you do."
While Blige was already a seasoned business woman when she found herself on a vineyard in Friuli, Italy, three years ago, her journey into the wine industry wasn't just about making profits. Instead, she says it was about creating something she was passionate about and sharing it with the world.
"My reason was because I loved it. Everything is not done for money," said Blige. "This was a labor of love. It was like, I love it, and now I have cases of it in my garage and wine cellar. Do it for love, and then the money will come, everything else will come. Do it for love."
Blige put in the hours on the Fantinel Winery in Friuli, learning about wine production and tasting the grapes. While she noted that wine tends to be an expensive hobby, that was all the more reason why she wanted to ensure her brand is at a price point that's accessible to everyone, without sacrificing quality.
"I'm never paying $10,000 for a bottle of wine," said Blige. "We want people from all walks of life to drink this. I wanted it to be affordable. Not everyone can afford wine. My fans have budgets, and people have budgets, period. The goal is to make sure everybody can get their hands on it. The wealthy people can drink it, and the people that are not wealthy can drink it."
When asked what her favorite meal is with which to pair the wines, Blige was hesitant to pick.
"It goes really well with friends," she said. "It's just a good time."