They weren't exactly throwing their knickers but there was a certain buzz at the London International Wine and Spirits Fair as Sir Cliff Richard launched his new wine.
This being a trade and press only affair, the bustle around the evergreen singer was a bit more worldly than the average crowd that regularly sells out concert venues for weeks on end.
Richard – who had his first hit in 1958 – planted eight hectares of Shiraz, Aragonez and Trincadeira on his property in the Algarve in the south of Portugal, three years ago. He was helped by winemaker David Baverstock, who runs Portugal’s biggest winery, Esporao.
And yesterday was the first showing of the wine ? Vida Nova, meaning new life. ‘Do I like it? I love it,’ the star exclaimed. ‘I should do, as I’m going to have to look people in the eye and say “This is a great wine”.’
Richard says he chose to go for Shiraz as he loves Australian wine. ‘I love the rich colour and the soft and velvety texture – it’s very different to the aggression of Aragonez.’
He was impatient with people who asked him why he thought it was so good. ‘All I need to know is that it gives me a great feeling of well-being. It’s like a record. People say “why is such and such a hit?” Who cares? You either like it or you don’t.’
He doubted he would up production – the wine would remain a hobby. It was also unlikely he would go so far as to build his own winery. The wine at present is vinified in Esporao.
Baverstock is very pleased with the result. ‘We’re getting there,’ he said. ‘It’s young at the moment but it’s going to come into its own in a couple of years.’
There is no doubt that a souvenir bottle of Vida Nova will be on the shelf of every one of Sir Cliff’s considerable fan base, even if the audience of jaded hacks and wine professionals were more interested in catching a glimpse of the most youthful sixty-year-old in the world than in tasting his wine.
‘I don’t think much of the wine to be honest,’ said one journalist, ‘I just came to see Cliff. He does look incredibly young, doesn’t he?’
Written by Adam Lechmere22 May 2002