Issa Rae, the talented actress known for her hit show “Insecure,” has recently debuted her latest project in a scene reminiscent of an episode from the TV series. In a moody Manhattan lounge, Rae introduced Viarae, a new line of Prosecco developed in partnership with E. & J. Gallo Winery. The event was attended by a well-heeled crowd who eagerly listened to Rae’s emotional explanation of her connection with the Italian sparkler.
Rae revealed that her love affair with Prosecco began during the early days of “Insecure.” Over sushi with Melina Matsoukas, the show’s pilot director, she was captivated by Matsoukas’ order of a glass of Prosecco. Intrigued, Rae embraced the sparkling wine as her signature drink both on and off-screen. In fact, it became her character Issa Dee’s go-to order on the show, blurring the line between Rae the actress and Issa the character.
Driven by her passion for Prosecco, Rae resolved to create her own brand. The process wasn’t without challenges as many companies tried to sway her towards different sparkling wine options. However, Rae remained steadfast in her desire for authentic Prosecco made with 100% Glera grapes from Italy. Eventually, she found the perfect partner in E. & J. Gallo Winery, and together they crafted a formulation that strikes a balance between sweetness and dryness, featuring citrus notes and hints of green apple.
With Viarae, Rae aims to attract a diverse audience, particularly younger drinkers and people of color. The bottle exudes a luxurious, ’70s-inspired aesthetic with brown and gold tones, a design that Rae played a significant role in developing. Priced at $19 and available at select retailers nationwide, including Target, Viarae is a representation of Rae’s commitment to creating space for herself and the vibrant Black female community in an industry where such presence is lacking.
Rae envisions Viarae as a versatile ingredient for a wide range of cocktails. It pairs exceptionally well with various liquors, as Issa Dee often demonstrated on “Insecure.” Rae suggests using Viarae in classic cocktails such as an Aperol spritz or a French 75, and even experimenting with tequila to create unique and delicious Prosecco tequila cocktails.
Excited about the future, Rae expressed her desire to expand the Viarae brand if it resonates with consumers. Prosecco, for her, is not just a drink but a lifestyle, and she embraces this opportunity to tell stories that revolve around that lifestyle.
With Viarae, Issa Rae brings her creativity, authenticity, and influence to the world of Prosecco, creating a brand that reflects her own experiences and celebrates the freedom to be unapologetically oneself.