Lisa Rinna Says She 'Didn't Expect' the Love She Received After Leaving 'RHOBH' : 'I Did My Job'

The Rinna Wines founder opens up to PEOPLE about the positive feedback that came her way after her exit from the Bravo series as her sparkling wine line hits stores nationwide

Lisa Rinna - Rinna Wines
Lisa Rinna. Photo: Luca & Alessandro Morelli

Lisa Rinna felt a surprising amount of support after her exit from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

The actress and reality star has been working on the launch of her Rinna Wines line since announcing her departure from the long-running Bravo series with PEOPLE last month. But during a recent chat about the beverages, she took some time to look back on the fan reaction that came after the news broke she wouldn't be returning for season 13, explaining that she had not anticipated many of the kind things viewers said about her.

"I didn't expect that, I really didn't," shares Rinna, 59. "That is the thing that was unexpected to me the most about everything. I thought people would mostly be like, 'Thank God we got her fired' — and some were, don't get me wrong. But the majority of it was love."

"Even the way people described my eight years on the show, with words like 'legend, icon, G.O.A.T.' — I said to [my husband, Harry Hamlin], 'There are things you'd normally only get to hear if you died!' " she jokes. "And that's how it felt — like I died, but I didn't, and I got to see all the things that people would say about me at my funeral."

BRAVOCON -- BravoCon 2022 Red Carpet from the Javits Center in New York City on Friday, October 14, 2022 -- Pictured: Lisa Rinna -- (Photo by: Cindy Ord/Bravo via Getty Images)
Cindy Ord/Bravo via Getty

It even helped her reframe some of her more headline-making moments associated with Housewives, like when she was booed while taking the stage at BravoCon 2022.

"You know what, thee were a lot more cheers in that room than there were boos," she says. "It really was not that many boos, and I hear that now because I can focus on the applause."

"It's been very nice," Rinna adds. "It's always nice when you put your all into a job. I feel like, at the end of the day, I left it all on the floor. I gave a hundred million percent to that job. And I can always look back — and I said this to our producer, I said, 'I will never regret or feel bad about anything because I did my job. I did exactly what the job entailed.' So I feel good about that."

Lisa Rinna - Rinna Wines
Lisa Rinna. Luca & Alessandro Morelli

The journey to Rinna Wines was actually inspired by Rinna's time at a French winery with the RHOBH cast during a 2019 trip to Paris.

Naturally Rinna initially considered doing a rosé, but she was drawn to sparkling wines when she formed a partnership to produce the wines with Prestige Beverage Group, an industry-leading importer and brand innovator of award-winning wines and spirits.

"I originally thought to do a Rinna Rosé, but the rosé wine market is saturated; there's just too many," Rinna says. "So when Prestige suggested sparkling, I thought, 'You know, I love bubbles and there's a real minus in the market for them. There's champagne, there's wine, but there's not a lot of sparkling wine — and there's certainly not a lot of good sparkling wine.' So it really felt like a no-brainer."

Two options — a Sparkling Brut ($25) and Sparkling Brut Rosé ($25) — are included in the line, which hits retailers nationwide today. Both dry in style, the Sparkling Brut offers aromas of citrus and pear leading to flavors of green apple and hints of Brioche. The Sparkling Brut Rosé, on the other hand, combines aromas and flavors of fresh strawberry and raspberry with layers of orange citrus and a hint of spice.

Lisa Rinna - Rinna Wines
Rinna Wines. Rinna Wines

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Rinna was involved in every step of the process, from the blend to the bottle, in an effort to ensure that her personality is infused in the company in the same way it is with her Rinna Beauty cosmetics line.

"We tried a lot of wine," Rinna laughs. "You just literally sit there with a pad and you go over all the different flavors that you would never even realize are in wine, like flowers and nuts and fruits. And then you have to design the bottle, the label. I mean, there's 5,000 options. It's not easy! It makes me appreciate all of it. The business of it, the taste of it, what goes into it — all of it. I didn't know that there were so many different ways to make a wine."

"In the end, I'm really happy with where we landed," she adds. "I like something dry. I don't like anything too fruity, too dense or strong. It can't have an aftertaste, it can't be bitter or acid-y. It has to be smooth. You want it to taste like you want to drink the whole bottle. And we got there. It's a light sparkling wine, not too heavy; refreshing, bright, and easy to drink. Plus it's from Provence, so it has that authenticity you want in a French wine. It's fabulous."

"It's a drinking wine, not a throwing wine," she jokes. "We've done the other; we want to drink it now!"

Lisa Rinna - Rinna Wines
Lisa Rinna. Luca & Alessandro Morelli

All in all, Rinna says she's grateful her time on RHOBH opened her up to a whole new audience, allowing her to expand into business ventures she only once dreamed of.

"I feel very blessed," she says. "At the end of the day, I'm a businesswoman and I'm here to sell things — whether it's myself or my products. That is my job. And I'll be forever thankful to the show for the huge platform it gave me to do that."

There's only one thing she has to do next: get Harry's Sauce on the market. "If it's the last thing I'm going to get that f---ing sauce in a bottle and sold on your shelves," Rinna says. "It's not easy, let me tell you. I thought I could snap my fingers and make that bolognese happen, but food is hard! But damn it, I'm going to find a way to get that made."

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