It’s not unusual for a celebrity to get into the wine business. But when actor Stephen Amell and his business partner, Andrew Harding, started Nocking Point wines, they made it a point to appeal to fans of Arrow, the TV show based on DC Comics character the Green Arrow, in which Amell plays the lead role. The wines are produced by a rotating cast of winemakers, in limited-edition bottles with artistic labels. The pair also collaborates with other celebrities, like Jason Momoa and their latest project with Aisha Tyler.
What was it that attracted you into the wine business?
We enjoyed it. Drew grew up in Walla Walla, which is obviously wine country, and I’ve always liked red wine. But we took a trip to [Paso Robles] wine country by accident in 2012. We were supposed to stay for an evening, ended up staying for a couple of days, and then we had the idea off the back of me getting Arrow that we would utilize what we thought would be a growing fandom, and then Drew put his entrepreneurial hat on, and the rest is history.
How do you select the winemakers you work with?
That started with finding local people in Walla Walla. Marie-Eve [Gilla] from Forgeron delivered our first wine to us. We’ve done a lot with Sean Boyd [founder and winemaker at Rotie Cellars], based out of Walla Walla.
How did you land on this model of doing very limited-edition wines, with different winemakers and label designers?
That goes more toward our customer base than it does to our approach to wine. A lot of people that are fans of us are comic book fans, so we thought it would be interesting to never do the same label twice and just make them really interesting art pieces. There are people that are Nocking Point Wine Club members because they love wine, and there are people that are Nocking Point Wine Club members because they like collecting things.
Is there much overlap between the comic book world and the wine world?
No. We’ve kind of created it, really.
What’s the response been like?
We’ve started to reach people outside just Arrow and comic book fandom, and we’ve done it because we like to make our wines the way that I’ll approach wine. I don’t know a great deal about wine beyond, [but] I know what I like. I know what I don’t like. I just know that I want the experience to be a little more approachable for someone who doesn’t know a lot about wine.