Q&A with Kathie Lee Gifford

We sat down with Kathie Lee Gifford, co-host of Today’s fourth hour and talked about growing up in Europe, what she and Hoda Kotb are drinking, and her new wine brand, GIFFT.

Photo by Brian DobenDo you really drink wine every morning on TV?
Just because it’s sitting there doesn’t mean it’s being imbibed. The only time we have more than a sip is when people like you guys come on and we do a tasting. Otherwise you can’t function at 10 o’clock in the morning.

On set, what’s in your glass?
Hoda and I have been drinking Colby Red quite a bit. It’s made by a family with a son named Colby who had heart surgery when he was 10 years old. Part of the money goes to charities that support heart health. I sent some over to the Scheids [Gifford’s partners] and said I would love to do a wine like this one.

The Scheids are making your wine?
Yes, they are, and it is a real partnership. This offer came to me not just to be a celebrity face to a product, but also to partner with the vineyard in the making of the wine, and that’s when I got excited.

What can we expect from your wine, GIFFT?
When the Scheid family approached me, I said, ‘Let’s not start out big, let’s start out small. Let’s introduce a lovely white and a lovely red, let people find us, discover it and see how excited we are. I’ll be the face of it, but the wine has to stand on its own.’ I’m hoping that people are going to fall in love with the wine and bring it into their home, and that’s why it’s at an affordable price.

How did you first become exposed to wine?
I was born in Paris, where wine is such a part of the culture, so it always just seemed natural to me to see families enjoying the fruit of the vine. It’s just part of life, part of your day, as a healthy part of the day, as we are learning more and more.

Do you entertain much at home?
We do. We have a spot at the edge of our property, near Long Island Sound, that we call Lola’s Lookout. It’s a special place, and it leads down to Bambino Beach Bar, named after one of my dogs. That’s where you go down to the water, and the water comes all the way up to the sea wall, and you can kayak right up there and have a glass of wine.

What is your idea of the perfect vacation?
I’ve had wine all over the world, but my favorite place in the world for fun and relaxation is Italy. The Italian people are so welcoming and so loving, and my greatest memories are in Italy.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
It’s always salty stuff—I can pass up the sweets. Sweets are Hoda’s thing. You’ve got a huge thing there of guacamole and chips, I could dive into it—and I do.

What can we expect from you next?
I’m working on a book this year called Good Gifts. I am filling it with recipes, memories, and scriptures that mean a lot to me, all shot at our house. Wine will be featured prominently, and it’s going to be one year in the heart of a home. It will benefit a charity when it comes out.

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