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Nearly two decades after winning “American Idol,” Fantasia Barrino is stepping back into the limelight with the launch of a wine brand. Known to her fans as a powerhouse vocalist, behind hits like “Truth Is,” “Lose to Win,” and “Free Yourself,” Barrino’s latest pursuit could be dubbed a passion project. 

Of course, Barrino isn’t the first A-lister to leverage their household name to create multiple streams of income. In fact, the Grammy Award-winning vocalist joins the likes of Dwyane Wade, Mary J. Blige, Post Malone, Snoop Dogg, and John Legend, all of whom own and operate wine and spirit brands.

Here’s the rundown of everything we know about Fantasia Barrino’s wine brand, including what inspired the pivot.

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Why A Wine Brand?

Speaking with Elle magazine in November 2023, Barrino explained how a day in wine country with her husband, Kendall Taylor, unlocked her newfound love. The wine country visit also birthed the idea of a new career path.

“I went back to school, so I got my sommelier certificate because I didn’t want people to think that I was just a Black girl putting my name on a wine to try to make money,” she told the publication. “I really love the process of it, and I also love to drink it because it’s good. I fell in love with it when my husband took me to a winery and I felt like this may sound crazy, but I kind of felt like my life was like what wine has to go through—the pressing. I wanted to know more about it. We’re coming out with a red wine; we’re coming out with a rosé.”

The 39-year-old also shared that her grandmother’s love for gowns and robes inspired her to tap into her creative lane through sketching designs and exploring the wine industry.

The move could prove to be a profitable one for Barrino. According to Statista, “the wine market in the U.S. is projected to generate $39 billion in 2024.”

What Is A Sommelier?

Recognized as a wine expert, a sommelier attains their title through various trainings and experience. Experts at Food & Wine suggest the most successful in the field start small by getting a job as a server to learn the ropes before honing in on the best certification program. During this process, experts say networking and travel are crucial.

“It’s important that you have a mentor that has been in the industry longer [than you],” Andrew Rich, sommelier and former beverage director at Woods Hill Table, told the outlet.

Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

In addition, Rich stresses that a mentor should be well-versed in the field, a better taster, and willing to offer new perspectives.

Lessons Learned Along The Way

Barrino detailed her challenges while transitioning from music to creating her wine brand. Reflecting on discovering her “first love,” the “I Believe” songstress encouraged fans to never lose sight of that feeling.

“Always remember it was your first love so that you don’t get caught up in the rat race,” the songstress told the magazine. “There was a point where I didn’t want to sing no more because I just was like, ‘Why are my albums not going number one? Why am I not selling out? Why am I still showing up at the shows, and the promoter ain’t got my money?’”

Interestingly, Barrino shared that she got to a place of realization where she understood her value. In addition, the singer shared the importance of not allowing herself to get caught up in the hype, and remembering why she fell in love with her craft.

Despite finding success as a recording artist, Fantasia Barrino’s net worth has dipped drastically since winning “American Idol,” reaching the $500,000 mark. In January 2024, the Grammy Award-winner scored a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy for her role of Celie in “The Color Purple.” Combined with her latest launch, the 39-year-old is set to have a promising 2024. 

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