Wine entrepreneur Jesse Bongiovi knows to give credit where credit is due.
“My parents instilled in me a work ethic that gave me access to the great opportunities that I have had in life,” says the 23-year-old New Yorker. Son of Dorothea Hurley and legendary pop star and Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer Jon Bon Jovi, Jesse grew up in an affluent New Jersey suburb before moving to Manhattan where he attended Poly Prep in Brooklyn and played football and lacrosse. Every summer, he and his family would escape to their East Hampton residence for peaceful respite from their frenetic lifestyles.
At the University of Notre Dame, he studied political science and business economics, and played cornerback for the Fighting Irish. The summer before his senior year, he hatched an idea on his parents’ porch that would come to fruition two years later. When his dad offered him a glass of “pink juice,” a jocular moniker he used to describe rosé wine, he responded, “We’re not drinking pink juice anymore. We’re drinking Hampton water.” Smitten with the concept, Jon challenged his son to transform it into something palpable.
After months of meetings, tastings and wine education, he returned with a business plan and a wine bottle and label he had designed. In February, he launched Hampton Water with his father and France’s illustrious winemaker Gérard Bertrand. Made with grenache, cinsaut and mourvèdre grapes grown in the Languedoc region, the rosé is available around the state and is barreling toward the West Coast and beyond.
Today, when he’s not working or spending time at his parents’ home on Palm Beach Island, he’s involved with charities that focus on eradicating hunger, poverty and homelessness.
“I have been blessed with so many opportunities,” Jesse says. “I think it’s important to always help in any way you can.”
1. QUINTESSENTIAL COUTURIER James Perse
2. DAILY DUDS I’m a pretty casual guy. On any given day I can usually be found in Levi’s and a T-shirt.
3. SIGNATURE ACCESSORY My dad always said never to leave the house without sunglasses.
4. GASTRO GO-TOS La Sirena, Buccan and Meat Market are personal favorites
5. HAPPY MEAL Chicken Parmesan
6. SMILE MAKER My family
7. DRINK DU JOUR I make a killer spicy tequila.
8. SNACK ON Peanut M&M’s
9. PET PICK I have always wanted a pit bull.
10. NEVER WITHOUT I would be lost without my iPhone.
11. WHAT’S PLAYING “Big Mouth” on Netflix is must-watch.
12. WELL READ “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald
13. WHAT’S PLAYING The National
14. STRESS RELIEVER Meditation
15. SPIRIT ANIMAL Humpback whale
16. PERFECT WEEKEND Good friends, good food and spending time with family
17. FAVORITE ACTIVITY Surfing
18. ISLAND ITINERARY I love going to the beach and relaxing by the pool.
19. PERSONAL TALENT Napping. I can sleep anywhere, and when you travel as often as I do, it’s key.
20. CRAZY ABOUT Traveling
21. WISH LIST Travel across Europe and visit major cities and some hidden gems, like Amsterdam, Prague, Dubrovnik and Berlin.
22. NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION Learn French
23. BUCKET LIST Surf Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch in Lemoore, California
24. SOMETHING SECRET I work really hard. People assume that because of who my dad is, I’m going to be a spoiled, lazy kid.
25. NEXT UP Launch Hampton Water worldwide