Giuliana Rancic is a busy lady. In addition to hosting E! News, Fashion Police, doing red carpet duty for every big event, and starring in the reality series Giuliana and Bill, Giuliana has also debuted her wine collection: Xo, G. This is one of the most unique wines I’ve ever seen: Each serving is packaged in its own plastic cup, covered with a peel-off foil top and plastic snap lid. The cups snap together to form a tower, which retails for approximately $9.97 and is available exclusively at Walmart. I’ve been enjoying these wines for the last few weeks, and had a chance to chat with Giuliana about the process of making them:
Beeb Ashcroft: What was the process like developing these wines? Did you do tastings, did you go to specific vineyards?
Giuliana Rancic: Yeah, I actually got to do a lot of tastings. We hired some great experts and people who had worked in the wine business a really long time to go to Europe and source the wines. We ended up getting our French wine from Languedoc, which is a great region of France for wine and also in Italy, we sourced our Grigio from Veneto, another great region for wine. And so what would happen was they would – it’s funny, Bill and I would get these nondescript bottles at our house. They literally had nothing written on them except just “Rosé #10421”. And they would just show up, and Bill’s like, “Aaaand you’re OK with just drinking out of this bottle?” I’m like, of course I am! And he’s like, do you know anything about it? How do you know what’s in this, is it OK? Do you even know who’s sending this? Which guy in France is sending you this, do you trust that guy that you’ve never met? I’m like, it’s fine! Are you kidding? They’re the best partners, they know what they’re doing, they’ve worked in the wine business forever, they’re not just gonna send us some scary wine! It’s fine! So, we would put Duke to bed, and we would literally sit in our robes at our kitchen table, with all these nondescript bottles and just start tasting them. And Bill was like – it was just always funny, because every single time he would question me before every tasting, like, “You’re OK with this?” and I’d go, Yes! And of course, a few glasses in, Bill doesn’t care anymore. He’s like, This is great!
It was fun. Bill is great – he has a great palate and he used to be in the cigar business for a long time, and so he has a lot of friends who kind of run in those circles: Cigar, wine, you know, so I wanted him to be a big part of ticking the wines. So the ones that we ended up choosing had to go through a pretty tough approval process. Obviously, wine experts tasted it – a lot of our partners and other people they knew, they had them taste it to make sure it was great and that everyone loved it; but for me it was even more important to have Duke’s babysitter taste it. You know, she’s a young woman, she loves wine, and that was important to me to have Kimberly taste it as well. What did she like? What didn’t she like? And she would give me notes back. My best friend, Collette would taste it; Pam, my other friend – you know, it was women that would actually buy it. Because it’s one thing for these wine connoisseurs, to hear their thoughts, but I wanted to hear what they everyday woman thought. And so, the approval process was pretty long and we went through a lot of wine, but in the end I think we chose the best ones.
Beeb Ashcroft: How did you discover StackTek?
Giuliana Rancic: Last year I discovered Stack Wines and fell in love with the packaging concept. I posted a simple pic of me opening the glass in my kitchen and I couldn’t believe the response – it made me think that there were a lot of women out there that thought this idea was just what they needed. I immediately wanted to collaborate with the Stack team and create the perfect bottle of wine.
Beeb Ashcroft: This packaging is so creative – was the convenience of the glasses an important aspect to you?
Giuliana Rancic: Yes, it was very important. A regular bottle has it’s time and place (romantic evenings, fine dining, etc.), but there are so many situations that you don’t use the full bottle. After a long day, I love having an occasional glass of wine in the evenings, but I hate wasting a bottle that I don’t finish. Xo, G allows me to enjoy one glass without the worry of spoiling the entire bottle.
Beeb Ashcroft: I also like these glasses because they’re plastic and not breakable – was being a mom to a young child an influence with that?
Giuliana Rancic: Definitely! I like to enjoy wine out by the pool or at a picnic, and with Xo, G I don’t have to worry about the glassware falling and breaking. The glasses are made of durable plastic and are also 100% recyclable.
Beeb Ashcroft: It’s great how these are pre-portioned so that you can enjoy a glass of wine without having to open a whole bottle. Were you hoping to make it easier for people eating healthy to indulge without blowing their diets?
Giuliana Rancic: Yes, that is one of the great benefits of the XO, G packaging. For those practicing a healthy lifestyle who don’t want to overindulge, the XO, G packaging lets me have one perfectly portioned glass of wine without having to monitor how much I’ve poured.
Beeb Ashcroft:I love how you have the variety pack of Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir – was it important to you to cater to different tastes?
Giuliana Rancic: The Mixed Pack is great! One bottle, yet something for everyone with 2 Glasses Pinot Grigio, 2 Glasses Pinot Noir. This is perfect for the holidays or for hostess gifts, or when someone wants a white, and your partner wants a red. I actually find it the most useful when my girlfriends come over, because before, I would always end up with unfinished bottles of white and red wine at the end of the night that would end up going to waste.
Beeb Ashcroft: This wine is perfect for parties because everything is right there, including the glasses. Do you love entertaining in your home?
Giuliana Rancic: Absolutely, being raised in an Italian family we always had family and friends over for dinner. Having the flexibility and ability to serve every guest their preferred varietal and not worry about glassware or corkscrews is the best!
Beeb Ashcroft: I was noticing the great food pairings on the back of these wines – being Italian, has great food and wine always been a big passion for you?
Giuliana Rancic: Yeah, we moved to America when I was a little girl, so I come from a very Italian family, and every night was pasta night in our house. And we always had wine on the table, always – and it was never taboo, wine was never taboo in my household. It was always there, we could have a sip of it if we wanted – there was just never anything taboo about it and I think that’s why as an adult, I’ve always respected wine. Even as a young adult, I’ve always respected it and never abused it in any way; I just really savor it and drink it to really compliment whatever I’m eating. I just love a glass of wine at the end of the day and so yeah, the food pairings were really important to me.
It was actually funny because in the beginning, we’d go back and forth on email about what were some of the best pairings for these wines, and sometimes it would be like, Gouda cheese and stuff that was way too fancy – and I’m like, “No, I wanna know what goes really great with pasta, or what goes great with popcor, or a cheeseburger or pizza or salmon or even grilled chicken!” You know what I mean? Things that we realistically eat all the time. I feel like sometimes you look at these wine pairings they suggest at the store and you’re kind of like, “Well, I don’t really eat that…” You know? “I don’t eat pâté every night.” So I wanted to make sure that it was food that I ate. So, like the Pinot Grigio, that goes great with pasta, especially like a lighter pasta, seafood, cheeses – it goes great with so much. The Pinot Noir, I mentioned in that one pizza, burgers – heartier foods, heavier foods. And then Rosé I love; the pairings that I specifically mentioned were chocolate dessert or grilled chicken, but it also goes great with turkey and ham – I don’t think that a lot of people would think to go to Rosé for that, but Rose goes GREAT with turkey and ham. So I wanted things that were everyday foods that we ate and not fancy. You know, not trying to kind of woo people like “Oh, look how fancy I am!” Because I’m not! I don’t eat weird stuff every night. I eat what everyone else is eating. So I wanted to make sure that it was very realistic pairings and pairings that people could actually benefit from.
Beeb Ashcroft: What is your favorite time to enjoy wine?
Giuliana Rancic: After a long day, I love having an occasional glass of wine in the evenings, and of course, during date night with Bill.
Beeb Ashcroft: How did you find time to launch this line with everything else you have going on?
Giuliana Rancic: You know, it wasn’t easy. I have to be honest – I had to put some things to the side, but I really capitalize on every moment of the day. I’ve always been like that though. I used to sit at home as a little girl and if I was bored I’d go, “Mom! We have to do something! I wanna live my life! I wanna do something!” Even if that meant just going to the mall, or walking around the neighborhood. I just always wanted to do something. And so I definitely take advantage of every minute of every day. But I had to make compromises at work and cut back on a couple of work things so that I could focus on this. And free time, to be quite honest. At the end of the day, once Duke was in bed, I would work on this. And that’s when I would reply to all the emails and approve designs and like I mentioned before, did the tastings. AYou just have to compromise and you have to realize it’s not forever. Maybe I can’t see my friends as much, or go shopping, or whatever – I would just have to compromise all of those things and just really focus on this at the end of the day.
Beeb Ashcroft: Do you think you’ll add more varieties in the future?
Giuliana Rancic: Yes! We will be adding in more varietals in the very near future. Super excited for everyone to see what is coming out next!