Sarah Jessica Parker is one of those rare multi-hyphens. Actress, singer, designer, she's done it all. But while most of her entrepreneurial pursuits stemmed from an expertise, like the SJP shoe line or Samsonite luggage partnership, Parker's latest venture is a bit out of her wheelhouse. The fashion icon first launched her wine brand Invivo X, SJP in 2019 and just launched a brand new 2020 vintage of the New Zealand sauvignon blanc blended by SJP herself. But you wouldn't know she's a novice in the field, considering the wine was just named one of Top 100 Wines of 2020 by Wine Spectator. But, perhaps the inherent winemaking skill comes from another passion: travel. Departures got to chat with Parker to learn all about her award-winning wine and sense of wanderlust. Plus, she shares her top travel tip.
Where does your passion for wine come from?
Well, I didn't consider myself somebody who was an expert. I was like many people intimidated by that job opportunity. But I think because we've traveled so much for work—both myself and my husband—since we were quite young as working actors, we always had local wine wherever we went. We saved labels and enjoyed wine. So, I think that's where our affection for it came from. When this opportunity presented itself, as surprising as it was, I was most definitely interested, especially the opportunity to learn more about the sauvignon blanc. It's obviously been joyful and interesting to learn about a new business and be working specifically on a sauvignon blanc from the Marlborough region.
What's the biggest lesson you've learned in this process?
I've learned just a huge amount and understand its science now that we have blended for four wines. You can change a wine with one tiny pour from lot B into lot A. It's all so completely fluid, literally. If you're willing, you can learn as much as you want. And I'm always wanting to learn more so that I'm more informed and can also speak about something that's a pretty serious industry.
Were you able to visit the Marlborough region?
I haven't yet. I was working and now, of course, the time that I could have, there are travel restrictions. I have no doubt that our first big trip as a family will be to New Zealand. It's a place that I've wanted to go to forever anyway. I had friends who have gone there and given me all their notes and shared every place and every hotel and local restaurant. So, we'll go there for sure.
You mentioned the opportunity and privilege you've had to travel for most of your life. Do you have any favorite memories associated with wine and travel?
Not one in particular; there are lots and lots. I've had incredible wine in pre-war Yugoslavia in Sarajevo and Zagreb. I had amazing wine there as a young person. I've had incredible wines in Peru and Sicily at the base of Mt. Etna. We've had great wines in France. My husband and I drove all over France before we were married with a big paper map and our best instincts and had just local table wine with no label. The best wine we've had is always local. Always ask the server or the proprietor of the restaurant what's their favorite local wine. We've also had opportunities to be with people who order super fancy wine. I couldn't tell you what it was; I just know it was an important bottle that was opened. We've had great wines in Ireland because of Ireland sort of pulls in from everywhere. In fact, it was coincidental that the wine we always purchased in Ireland is Invivo. It took me a while to put it together. I was like, "Oh my God, Matthew! This is the company! This is Invivo!" This is the wine we always buy at Super Value." I've had really interesting wine in Asia, we've had incredible wine in Greece, but not fancy. Often it's just local.
Do you make a point to try the local wine every time you travel?
One hundred percent, and you always listen to the server. We always listen to the server or the proprietor. They're always wanting to share with you because usually it's a family-related vineyard or it's a friend or an old relation that's been producing wine locally for hundreds of years. They're very proud to bring out a carafe and some glasses.
Are there any other places you're itching to travel to?
We were hoping to travel as a family and visit all the parks in Utah. That was our dream. Also, to get to know the South better. I'm dying to go to the Gulf, Alabama, all those places with the most beautiful shorelines and food and fish. There's lots to explore in this country, and we need to do so for one another and our economy and just for people's emotional well-being to know that they're on our minds all the time.