Q&A with Halliday

In conversation with Sarah Jessica Parker

By Amelia Ball

6 Jul, 2021

Actress Sarah Jessica Parker recently added a second wine to her collaborative range with Invivo. We couldn’t help but wonder how she’s found that process, so we asked her all about it in a chat over the phone from her home in New York. 

Actress Sarah Jessica Parker with her wine range with Invivo.

H. Was there a moment that made you fall in love with wine?
SJ. I think it was an accumulation of travel, although I wasn’t a sophisticated wine drinker and didn’t know a lot about it. I would never be the person who ordered the wine – I’d always hand the list to someone else, so I was on the receiving end of whatever they poured. But I listened and learned, and I think travelling internationally helped enormously. When my husband [actor Matthew Broderick] and I travel for pleasure, we always ask our waiter about their favourite local wine. That’s how it grew.  

H. What are your favourite wine styles to drink? 
SJI used to be a chardonnay drinker because it seemed more immediately understandable and hospitable; it didn’t pose too much conflict for me. Sauvignon blanc made me nervous. I never ordered it because I thought it was much more sophisticated than I was. I typically went for a chardonnay, merlot or a cabernet and I’d force them on whatever I was eating. One of the many great things that have come from this experience of working with Invivo has been really coming to love sauvignon blanc. That’s what I reach for now. 

H. What have been some of your most memorable wine discoveries? 
SJI think the most recent experience in terms of wine revelations was in Sicily, especially having wines from Mt Etna. They really blew my mind and were just breathtaking. We were travelling there with friends and all of us, with different palates, were gobsmacked by those wines. We always try to save wine labels and take pictures of the wines we enjoy, but it’s such a unique thing to be somewhere and understand in a visceral way what soil does to a wine. I’ve also had great wines in Greece, France, Peru and Chile, and obviously our country [the US] produces some fantastic wines, too. The other side to this is really coming to understand sauvignon blanc and why Marlborough has been such a success. Those grapes are so special and there’s so much elasticity and flexibility in what they can be. 

H. Were there any surprises for you in the wine production process? 
SJI think I was surprised initially by the 2019 sauvignon blanc because there was room for it to be bigger and rounder, and it could have texture. I really thought I was going to be limited by architecture, but that’s not true – there is lots of flexibility. You can mess with it, such as working with the skins and bringing in oak. I’ve learned a huge amount. The surprise was that sauvignon blanc had more colours to it. It was a much more interesting, and not so serious or punitive, wine. 

H. Do you see any surprising similarities between wine and acting? 
SJThe part of it that feels very familiar is the collaboration side – talking about it, having an idea, disagreeing, and then agreeing to disagree. Letting someone who has experience guide you is very much like the film development process, and that’s very helpful. 

H. Do you have a favourite wine experience from a shoot? 
SJWhen we were in Paris shooting the last episodes of Sex and the City, we had incredible wine. Lots of times it wasn’t an important wine, it was just on the menu at a bistro. One amazing memory while shooting those same episodes in Paris was our lunch boat on the Seine. Because the French have wine at lunch, every day there would be little bistro glasses of wine, and I loved that.  

H. Your Sex and the City character Carrie loved Cosmopolitans, but what is your go-to cocktail order? 
SJWell, it’s the Cosmopolitan. It came much later than the show, though. I never drank them when we were shooting – they were always fake on set, made with water, cranberry juice and lime. A decent amount of time went by and I didn’t take the time to know them. But toward the end of the run of the series, I had a great one and that was like the gateway. Without question, that’s the cocktail I go for now. I really love a very cold Cosmopolitan with a lot of lime. 

H. What’s your go-to wine when entertaining? 
SJI would never say this if it weren’t true – and you don’t know me well enough to know I’m not lying – but before my friends come over, they check if I’ve got my sauvignon blanc and rosé in the house. We went away with six friends on a road trip, and I had to bring all the wine. They really love it – and they’re fancy wine drinkers!   

H. What’s your all-time favourite food and wine match? 
SJI love oysters with white wine so much. And I love lamb with a red wine – love! I also like a nice crunchy green salad with sauvignon blanc.

H. Have you spent much time in Australia?  
SJI’ve been for work several times, and I absolutely love it. I’ve had some incredible meals there – Chinese and Thai food, especially. The people have always been so hospitable, and I’ve had some great wine there, too. I’ve only ever been to Sydney and Melbourne, so I’d love to come back with my family and go deeper into your country when we can travel again. It’s just so freaking big.  

H. Is there a wine that’s taught you a lesson? 
SJI think, again, it’s sauvignon blanc because I was so afraid of it. It’s flexible, not rigid. And it can be enjoyed even by the uninformed.  

H. What’s your best piece of wine advice? 
SJNot to be intimidated by wine, and always ask for help because people love sharing their thoughts, feelings and information about it. Don’t be scared to ask for help. I think wine can be intimidating, but it’s meant to be enjoyed among friends. Also, there are no rules – if you like red meat and white wine, so do it.  

The Invivo x, SJP range includes the 2020 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, $21.99, and the 2019 Rosé, $19.99, from the South of France, available in select stores and via sendnsip.com.au

This is an edited extract of an article that first appeared in issue #60 of Halliday magazine
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