Nina Dobrev And Julianne Hough On Fresh Vine Wine's New Sauvignon Blanc - Exclusive Interview

Any day could be wine Wednesday if you try hard enough — or in this case,  if you sign up for Fresh Vine Wine's premium wine club. Actresses Nina Dobrev, best known for "The Vampire Diaries," and Julianne Hough, seen on "Dancing With the Stars," found a niche in the wine business in 2019 that has since taken off. Fresh Vine Wine features low calorie, low sugar, and low carb premium wines that are also gluten-free. Check, check, and check.

In an exclusive interview, Dobrev and Hough opened up about the creation of their wine company, their beloved friendship, and what's next in their careers. The power duo has garnered quite the fan base over their ten year friendship which has translated to the success of Fresh Vine Wine, which became a public company on the New York Stock Exchange in 2021. 

Now, the wine brand has launched a sixth varietal that is sure to make wine lovers swoon. How about a petition to start Sauvignon Blanc Sundays? Dobrev and Hough even gave some tips on how to enjoy the new Sauvignon Blanc, no matter the day of the week.

Why Dobrev and Hough started Fresh Vine Wine

I would love to start with an overview of how you both garnered the idea and inspiration for Fresh Vine Wine.

Nina Dobrev: We met when we were in our early 20s and we both had a lot of common interests, and one of those common interests was that we really enjoyed laughing, spending time together, and sharing a glass of wine while we do that. Upon taste testing so many different wines from all over the world and so many different countries and cities that we visited together, we had the idea. We found a gap in the market and thought, "We're health-conscious people that like to prioritize our workouts and feeling good, both internally and mentally." 

We wanted to create something that we didn't feel like we could find or get off the shelf that tasted in the way our product tastes — like a premium experience that we hadn't really encountered yet.

What has it been like being able to embark on a new business venture as best friends?

Julianne Hough: A lot of people say, "Don't work with your friends and your family, because it can be complicated." That's a thing that goes around a lot, but we've found that because we're such good friends and we were such close friends before, we not only have each other's back, but we respect and honor each other's viewpoints. 

It's nice that we complement each other in our strengths, and things that Nina's really great at, I struggle a little with, and vice versa. It's nice to be able to have a partner that can be challenged with ideas and thoughts, and at the same time, know that it's a really trusted, safe person that you're doing it with. Our outcome is always, "How do we make this the best experience for our consumers [and employees] and [make] the best products that we can have, and create from that place of trust and friendship?" That is the total opposite of what people have usually said.

Dobrev and Hough name their go-to wine variety

That definitely shows through all of your posts and collaboration and how fans have responded to Fresh Vine Wine in general, that you guys are definitely a good pair. I saw that the new Sauvignon Blanc variety came out and I tried it last night. It's really good. What food would you pair with the new Sauvignon Blanc variety and why?

Hough: The Sauvignon Blanc is definitely a go-to for any kind of fresh experience you're wanting to have. Whether it's a beautiful lunch with salads or a fish, I definitely feel like, especially with our lifestyles, that's more of our go-to on the regular and then a bit of a red is a treat, an indulgence. 

We have such citrus aromas and whether it's melon or lime and with a little bit of red grapefruit, anything that complements the citrus-y vibe to something ... not bland, but a little bit on the other side. That way, you can feel and taste the notes and experience the full flavor.

Do either of you have a favorite wine from the collection thus far?

Dobrev: The Cabernet has been my favorite consistently, but ever since we made the Sauvignon Blanc, I'm obsessed with it. It's so light and it's got a golden straw color and it's got the key lime with the fresh melon and the citrus blossoms. 

It's got a really juicy palette of all kinds of yellow things and I love that. We pride ourselves in making a wine that [doesn't give you] a hangover after you drink a bunch of it. It falls in line with that. 98 calories, only 0.1 grams of sugar, 2.8 carbs per five-ounce glass. It's really delicious and guilt free at the same time.

Hough: In the past, the Pinot was always my go-to. I love all of them, but the Pinot was always a go-to because it's something that I can have with anything. Now, because of our new varietal with the Sauvignon Blanc, it doesn't necessarily have to be red. It can be white. It still feels really light, so I'm definitely more on the regular going for something light and then on special occasions, I'll have something a little bit more bold.

The duo reveals the future of Fresh Vine Wine

Do you guys have a highest seller? What would it be?

Hough: Our rosé sells really well.

Dobrev: It's equal, but we had trouble last year because we sold out of the Pinot at one point.

Oh, really?

Dobrev: It was flying off the shelves. We only made a limited reserve for the Cabernet — the reserve one, the more expensive bottle. We've been really fortunate to sell out of a lot of our things, and we've been working really hard to restock as quickly as possible because it's been really successful and really in demand, which is a blessing and a curse in some ways. We're happy to have this problem.

This is just out of my own curiosity, but would you guys ever consider going international or would that be too hard right now?

Hough: There's North and South America, but it's definitely in our plan to get to the UK at some point. We've got big plans for that, but slow and steady wins the race. It's actually funny. I say that and yet we're moving so fast. The fact that we're planning to expand globally is a blessing and like a miracle, and it goes to show that the product is really good and people really love it.

Dobrev: We're also in Puerto Rico and a few other places. I know they're talking to Canada, but there's so many laws [in] Canada with alcohol. It's a little bit more complicated. It takes a little bit longer, but we're having all of those conversations and have been working on that for the last year.

What Dobrev and Hough really eat before big scenes

Nina, this past year, you invested in Smart Sweets, which is a low sugar candy brand. Do you have any more plans to increase your presence in the food industry now that you have a wine brand with Julianne as well?

Dobrev: I'm always looking for interesting business ventures that I'm passionate about. Fresh Vine Wine is our baby, and it's something that we founded from the very beginning, so it's my number one focus, but I'm always looking for other opportunities. I loved Smart Sweets because it was a Canadian owned, female led brand that spoke to me, but I'm always open to opportunities if it's the right fit.

For both of you, what is your go-to food to eat before a big performance or acting scene?

Hough: Always something light. It's funny because like I love sushi for instance, but I can't have it before I go on, because the rice makes me feel heavy. [I'll have] anything that will give me some energy — it sounds pretty boring, but, protein, sweet potatoes, some veggies, that's my go-to.

Dobrev: It's a little different for me because I've never done Broadway. I don't have to be on stage for multiple hours. When you're on set, as Jules also knows, you have a lot of breaks in between scenes. I snack all day long on little things and I love protein shakes, because you can sip on it. There's not a lot of time for things like sit down breaks and full meals, but you can snack all day long.

Dobrev and Hough disclose their daily wellness routines

Both of you are strong proponents of health and wellness. I would love to know what your daily morning routine is.

Dobrev: Why don't we do an afternoon routine so we could talk about our wine too?

Go for it. Whatever you want!

Hough: Glass of wine in the morning.

Dobrev: We have a cup of wine when we have to do interviews on air and talk about the wine straight in the morning. I like to work out in the afternoon. I like to get a sweat on and if it's at the gym or if I can't get to the gym, I'll at least jump in the sun or the steam to sweat a little bit and then naturally detox and then you have to re-tox. That's when Jules and I get together and have wine and gossip and make dinner and hang out. That's my routine, or it's not always with Jules, but with other friends or my boyfriend. We lay low. We're past the age where you go out every night and we like to spend quality time indoors – with our wine.

Hough: Waking up and doing my routine for me to feel very well rounded for the week, that's one thing. Weekends or Sunday brunch or ... because I'm on Broadway, Mondays are my Sundays. Even that for me is fun. I like to create experiences and whether it is sitting down and reading or lighting a candle and doing my morning pages, the things that make me feel really good, I always have to create an experience. 

Whether it's that or brunch, bringing friends over and making breakfast and having a glass of wine or something while we're cooking and it's always surrounded by creating the most memorable experience, because life is made up of moments. I try to savor each moment as much as I can and make it a memory.

The actresses talk food and upcoming projects

What is one food or ingredient that you always just have to have in your kitchen?

Hough: Olive oil.

Dobrev: Tajín. I put Tajín on everything — that or ketchup. I put it on my avocado for breakfast in the morning and I put it on my cocktails if we're doing a sangria cocktail or something.

I know you guys have a lot going on. Could you give fans a hint as to what projects they can expect from you both in the upcoming months?

Hough: I'm focusing on Broadway right now and I'm probably going to take a little short break to decompress. This really inspired me to get back to my craft in a way where I want to become a student again. I've been so fortunate that I have been working since I was 18 years old. You learn, and when you're on the job, you keep growing and evolving while you're working.

You grow and experience, but I want to take some time to work on my craft again, as a student. Being in New York, there's so many opportunities to do that out here. I'm going to be doing that, along with all the other projects that are in development, but that's my immediate thing that I'm going to be doing.

Dobrev: I just finished doing four movies back to back, so I'm going to take some time off — rest, and catch up on sleep and read and enjoy a little bit because I've been going, going, going a lot over the last three months.

Will any of those movies be out soon [...]?

Dobrev: Early to mid-next year is when everything's out.

Head to Fresh Vine Wine's website or Instagram page to learn more about the new Sauvignon Blanc variety and other premium wine offerings. 

This interview has been edited for clarity.