Diving into Hampton Water
Photo by Erin Cooper
For Jesse Bongiovi and Ali Thomas, summertime in the Hamptons and drinking rosé has always gone hand in hand, but it wasn’t until recently that they found one they could truly love. With the help of Jesse’s literal rock star father, Jon Bon Jovi, and world renowned French winemaker, Gérard Bertrand, these young men have turned a late-night conversation and dream into reality. Their hope? That anyone anywhere can enjoy a little piece of summer in the Hamptons while Diving into Hampton Water. We recently had a chance to sit down with Bongiovi and dove a little deeper into the backstory behind the wine.
How did you and your business partner Ali meet? How long have you two been working together?
Ali and I were roommates our junior year in college and had been close friends even before that. Both being New York natives we had a lot of the same friends from home and just got along really well.
When did you discover your love of rosé?
Our love of rosé came from our summers in the Hamptons. When you’re out there, rosé flows like water, which ended up being the inspiration for the name!
What inspired you to create your own?
We liked a lot of rosé but didn’t really love any. When we started this venture, we realized that we had a great opportunity to create a product that we could really love and call our own.
What was your father’s role in the creation and development of Diving into Hampton Water?
My dad basically challenged us to start the business. Without his push, we had a name but it wouldn’t have ever come to life.
How did you come up with the name “Diving into Hampton Water”?
The name comes from a long running joke out in the Hamptons that rosé is the “water of the Hamptons.” One late night Ali and I were sitting on my porch, and my dad offered us both a glass of “pink juice,” which was what he called rosé. We told him that we didn’t call it pink juice but “Hampton Water,” and the idea took off from there.
What prompted your partnership with Gérard Bertrand?
We were huge fans of his wines, and knew that if we were going to pursue this product we wanted to do it right. Plus, when we told him our idea was inspired to share the lifestyle of the Hamptons, it clicked for him right away.
Were you able to be a part of the blending process in France? If so, what was that like?
Yes. We spent three days with Gérard blending and learning about the different grape varietals. By the end of the blending session we were literally making changes with eye droppers and testing to make sure it was the perfect blend.
What is the main varietal/blend?
It’s a mix of Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvedre and Syrah.
Do you think you’ll ever produce other varietals?
This being our first vintage it’s hard to say, but the sky is the limit!
What do you think sets Diving into Hampton Water apart from other rosés in market?
The label definitely sets us apart from other products. There are tons of rosés out there right now but nothing that jumps off the shelf like ours. Plus, when you actually try the juice it’s by far the best rosé we’ve ever had!
How did you come up with the artwork/design for the label, and what prompted you to go with a glass closure?
We wanted something that was classy and timeless. We also had the idea that we wanted to make a label that jumped right off the shelf. What a better way to do it than a diver? The glass closure was selected because there’s nothing worse than bringing a bottle of rosé to the beach only to find that you’ve forgotten a wine key. With a glass stopper, you never run into that problem.
What is your favorite pairing with your rosé?
We like to think the best thing to pair Hampton Water with is good friends and great music!
We’ve heard that your father is a big fan of Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio. Do you think your rosé might become his new “go to” wine?
He’s always been a big rosé drinker. It was pretty much a 50/50 split, but now that we have Hampton Water I haven’t seen him drink anything else!