Exclusive: Jesse Bongiovi on his Notre Dame football days, Hampton Water & more
Hampton Water is the award-winning rosé created by legendary musician Jon Bon Jovi and his son Jesse Bongiovi. The wine also happens to be Wine Spectator’s top-ranked rosé of 2018.
But, prior to finding success as an entrepreneur, Jesse Bongiovi played college football for Notre Dame. Bongiovi was also an all-conference midfielder in lacrosse during his high school days, leaving little doubt as to his athletic prowess.
In honor of the U.S-based National Rosé Day -- coming up on June 8th -- I had the pleasure of doing Q&A with Jesse Bongiovi about Hampton Water, his recent collaboration with Umami Burger and his history as a sports fan. More on Bongiovi can be found by following him (@JesseBND) and/or Hampton Water (@HamptonWater) on Twitter.
You've played football at Notre Dame. Did you specifically go to that school for its football program?
Jesse Bongiovi: The opportunity to play football was a huge factor when I decided to go to Notre Dame, but I also knew that a Notre Dame education is second to none. I always want to challenge myself, and having the chance to compete at the highest level both athletically and academically is hard to turn down.
Notre Dame aside, who are some of your go-to sports teams? Do you gravitate more towards the New York teams or the Philadelphia teams?
Jesse Bongiovi: I’m actually a huge [New England] Patriots fan. Have been my whole life. Say what you want, but they’re amazing to watch – pure football genius.
What was the last live sporting event you attended?
Jesse Bongiovi: I end up traveling a lot, so I don’t have much time to go to games these days. However, I recently was in Dallas, launching Hampton Water in the market, and was able to go see a [Dallas] Mavericks game during Dirk’s [Nowitzki] last season. It’s amazing to see someone like him have competed for as long as he has.
Were sports always more important to you than music?
Jesse Bongiovi: Sports were always a huge part of my life. I played lacrosse and football since I was really young. I’ve always been an incredibly competitive person and sports were also where I got that out.
What is coming up for you work-wise? I understand that Hampton Water is doing very well these days and that you recently worked with Umami Burger...
Jesse Bongiovi: Thank you! Yes, the reception toward Hampton Water has been amazing so far. In our first year, we received a 90-point rating from Wine Spectator, and the esteemed organization later named Hampton Water the top-ranked rosé in the world in their Top 100 Wines of 2018. We’ve worked extremely hard over the past 3+ years and it is amazing to see people enjoying Hampton Water as much as we do.
We are very excited about our partnership with Umami Burger for their Artist Series collaboration. We worked with the great team over at Umami Burger to create "The Hampton Burger," which is currently available at Umami Burger locations nationwide through July 14th. The burger is phenomenal and goes perfectly with a nice glass of Hampton Water. What makes this partnership extra special for us is that a portion of the proceeds from each burger sold go to the JBJ Soul Foundation, which is very near and dear to our hearts.
The Hampton Burger features a Miso Mustard Wagyu Beef Patty between two layers of American Cheese and Kewpie Mayo topped with roasted tomatoes and diced raw onions, a pickled beet slice, feta crumbles and finished with shredded iceberg lettuce and green chili vinaigrette.
Finally, what do you wish more people knew about Jesse Bongiovi?
Jesse Bongiovi: People assume that because my dad is a celebrity that I don’t work hard. It's something I’ve had to prove wrong my entire life, and I’m fine with that. It has motivated me to want to do even more in every aspect of my life.