Madonna's father, Tony Ciccone, has devel- oped five kinds of Madonna wines — Pinot Noir, Gewurz- traminer, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Grigio Am- brato, and Chard- onnay.
BAY CITY (AP) — Madonna is most notably recognized through a pair of headphones.
But now the Bay City native also can be identified through a wine glass.
The Material Girl's father, Tony Ciccone, recently decided to advance his winery business by releasing Madonna Wine, which is available in five varieties: Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Gewurztraminer, Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay.
"Most of our wines are state-bottled wines,” Ciccone said. "We don't try to make California wines or wines from France. We make wines that are Michigan wines.”
Ciccone, who has been bottling wine out of his Ciccone Vineyard & Winery in Suttons Bay for nine years, is a regular visitor to Bay City. And when he's not seeing friends and family, he ventures over to the Water Front Market to visit owner Greg Schultz.
Ciccone has been delivering wine to Schultz's business for three years. On a recent visit he dropped off a few bottles of Madonna Wine, which Schultz showcased on the front counter.
"Sales have been pretty good, considering it's a $40 bottle of wine,” Schultz said.
Many local residents recognize Ciccone not as "the father of Madonna” but as "Tony The Wine Distributor.” But some customers aren't buying the wine for its taste; they're purchasing complete sets to keep as collector's items.
"We've had a lot of girls who buy it as a gift for their friends,” Schultz said. "It's good for true Madonna fans.”
When Marilyn Wines were released a while back, fans of Marilyn Monroe saved the bottles, and it's paying off for them today, he said.
Madonna Wine was released in December 2006, Ciccone said, and its popularity has increased ever since. The label on each bottle features a colorful picture of Madonna, with whom he consulted beforehand to make sure his daughter approved of the idea.
"She was excited about it,” Ciccone said.
Ciccone said he plans to increase production at his Suttons Bay vineyard, which employs five people in Lower Michigan's Leelanau Peninsula.
But sales aside, Ciccone said he is just happy to be doing what he loves, and making money at the same time.
"I should've done this 20 years ago,” he said. "For us, it's a labor of love.”