In the 30 years since releasing his smash-hit debut album, Snoop Dogg has become known for much more than his music.
Since Doggystyle’s 1993 release, Snoop has expanded his personal brand into the wider entertainment industry, VC firms (with Casa Verse Capital), cannabis brands (see: Leafs by Snoop), and more.
In recent years, the iconic rapper and entrepreneur even took an unexpected step into the wine business.
“If you don’t usually drink wine and want to try, or you do drink wine and want to change it up, Cali by Snoop is the real deal. My brand is about breaking the rules,” says Snoop.
The brand, which is part of a multi-year partnership with Australian wine brand 19 Crimes, debuted its first bottle—Snoop Cali Red—in April 2020, surprising the industry.
While, yes, each bottle is plastered with a photo of Snoop’s face, à la many-a failed celebrity wine brand, it’s what inside the bottle that counts.
The red wine blend includes 65 percent Petite Syrah, 30 percent Zinfandel, and 5 percent Merlot, all hailing from Lodi, California, at just $12 a bottle. With delicious, distinct fruits, a splash of acidity, and smooth tannins, it wasn’t just a celebrity wine…it was decent wine. A wine you could serve just about anywhere.
“I made sure Cali Red goes with everything, so you can always drink it, doesn’t need to be with fancy food,” says Snoop. “Cali Red is sweet with a kind of oakiness and smokiness that goes real good with BBQ—think slow roasted pork tacos.”
Ostensibly, the partnership shattered stereotypes that wine was reserved for a select few. Here, the man that turned gin and juice into a cultural touchstone was not only sharing his love for wine, but making it feel more accessible to a demographic that may well have stuck with mixed spirits for the rest of their days—without compromising on quality.
“I didn’t drink wine a ton growing up, but I learned that it’s a drink everyone can share with each other, and there’s history behind each bottle. I like telling stories, it’s the easiest way to do that. Sip and chill,” says Snoop.
“What made me excited about this project is that we got a chance to create something that honors real ones like me, the ones who have overcome adversity and stay true to themselves,” he continues. “Cali by Snoop is bold, full of character and represents that chilled Cali lifestyle. It’s wine with Cali soul.”
Initially, the company forecast “robust” sales of 125,000 cases in the first 12 months, but smashed through that milestone within six weeks.
He’s been dropping more releases (like they’re hot, of course) since the launch of Cali Red, too.
In late 2022, 19 Crimes’ parent company (Treasury Wine Estates) took Cali by Snoop into the UK market and the launch of the brand’s first rosé, Cali Rosé, following just a few months later, helping 19 Crimes become the number one contributor of growth in the Treasury Wine Estates’ entire wine category.
“I’ve never been a wine expert and I didn’t want Cali by Snoop to be something that people found pretentious,” says Snoop. “In that world, they talk about delicacies and age and all sorts of stuff you don’t need to know to actually enjoy it. I just picked a wine from California, it reminds me of my west coast roots and has a fresh, fruity taste. I focused on the flavor and bringing the California lifestyle to the product, and let the experts do their thing.
“Cali Rosé is refreshing but sweet. This isn’t the actual professional tasting notes, but to me it tastes like strawberry, raspberry, and cherry,” says Snoop. “I mean look, they’ve got my face on the bottle, so everybody know it’s endorsed by Snoop, official seal of approval!”
Snoop sells, and no-one knows it better than the man himself. His bottles even feature cutting-edge augmented reality (AR) tech that gives consumers the opportunity to ‘Ask the Doggfather’ questions via QR codes.
The 51-year-old’s investments aren’t limited to wine brands, either. Over the years, Snoop has invested in consumer packaged goods, tech, real estate and cannabis ventures.
“I guess it’s been about learning as you go. I’ve been in business so long and so many men and women have taught me how to do things the right way,” he says.
“You can follow trends, but if you don’t follow through with them in the long term, then there’s no point. You’ve got to see it through.”
He’s incredibly passionate about seeing Cali by Snoop through, too, despite the wider wine industry’s struggles to overcome rising tariffs, trade disputes, and declining demand for accessibly-priced wines.
“I love that people are so excited about what’s coming out next,” he says. “We have some cool things coming down the line—white, and some sexy sparkling—so I hope I can keep bringing new flavors to the fans.”
The D-O-double G, as anticipated, shows no fear as I ask him about the challenges that lie ahead.
If anything, this is just the beginning for yet another industry takeover. “Trust your big homie—nothing is off limits,” he cheerses.