Guy Fieri Founded Hunt & Ryde Winery in Search of Respect and a ‘Bomb-A** Pinot’
Guy Fieri exists in a strange, unique, and lucrative position in the celebrity chef world. His image is unabashedly unpretentious, more interested in highlighting the Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives of his long-running Food Network show than pointing cameras at Michelin-starred restaurants or expensive ingredients.
For a time, this made Fieri the butt of constant jokes. But in recent years, he’s developed a reputation as a charitable, creative representative for American food. The 54-year-old is an ever-present fixture at cookouts for first responders, working grills personally for hours at a time.
Fieri has clout like never before. It’s allowed him to pursue projects he likely didn’t imagine before. However, Fieri was still hesitant to associate his name with one dining element.
Hunt & Ryde Winery is quietly backed by Guy Fieri
Hunt & Ryde wines have a simple, classic label with two cowboys on horses. On the shelf, it stands out for that unique theme, but otherwise is one choice of quality California wines among many. That Fieri is the man behind the Sonoma County winery is only obvious after one reads through Hunt & Ryde’s origin story, finding the famous spiky-haired Food Network star at the center of it all.
Fieri named Hunt & Ryde after his sons, Hunter and Ryder. Partnering with winemaker Guy Davis, he combines three old vine grape sources to create a specially-crafted flavor profile.
Fiery had a heavy hand in each step of the process and developed recipes to match each of the Hunt & Ryde wines. Yet even some of his restaurants don’t have the label on their wine lists. The celebrity chef has alluded that he wants to keep this project separate from his others.
Fieri’s winery is a hit despite his reluctance to use his connections
Fieri tends to deploy his wines judiciously. He doesn’t entirely hide his presence, but he doesn’t plaster his face on the label, either.
“It’d just be too much about me, not about the wine,” the food TV superstar told GQ. “The wine will speak for itself. I want it to be appreciated. If all the hard work got shadowed by ‘It’s a celebrity wine,’ then that to me is a real disappointment.”
Fieri’s reputation has improved in recent years. The long shadow cast by the infamous New York Times review of Guy’s American Kitchen in Times Square has long since receded. But he’s still wary of pushing his food celebrity image. His winery is on the shortlist where he feels more comfortable dialing things back.
Fieri’s winery is a passion project rather than an expansion of his personal brand
The existence of Hunt & Ride Winery hinges on Fieri’s love for wines. It truly seems that simple — in contrast to his more ostentatious branding exercises like Guy’s American Kitchen, which relies on his public persona. The wines, in contrast, are about his own interests and tastes.
And the project is working, even if it doesn’t quite feed directly into his larger, extremely lucrative brand. Wine Enthusiast gave his 2013 Zinfandel a 92. The quest for a “bomb-ass pinot,” as he told GQ, also received an impressive 91. Fieri’s palate is clearly in tune with what serious wine drinkers are looking for.
One thing’s for sure, though. While Fieri has many recipes he believes pair great with his wines, there’s an ingredient he won’t feature. If eggs are the centerpiece of the dish? Fieri won’t be having it. He’d rather not develop a decent pairing for it at all.