Christian, Kathie Lee Gifford, Starts New Wine Company

Kathie Gifford has gone grape and created a pair of her own wines, a chardonnay and a red blend. (Photo: Brian Doben)
Kathie Gifford has gone grape and created a pair of her own wines, a chardonnay and a red blend. (Photo: Brian Doben)

Sitting down to a leisurely lunch with Kathie Lee Gifford means readying yourself for some rim shots: The kind she’s been delivering since “I came out in the placenta.” And the kind she’s been seemingly imbibing on air for nearly six years, since she and Hoda Kotb turned the fourth hour of Today into happy hour. (Although those Boozeday Tuesday and Winesday Wednesday glass rims are certainly filled with far more than a shot of sauce.)

And often those two kinds of rim shots, shtick and swill, mix. “Would you like to order some lunch?” she innocently asks her midday date. “Because we intend to get you drunk.” Ba-dum ching.

So it’s chardonnay-clear why Gifford would want to bottle and sell her well-documented (if “highly, highly exaggerated”) love for wine. Indeed, the key question is, “What took me so long?” she says, before breaking into song: “What kind of fool am I?”

Gifford, dressed simply, in black, is stationed in a Chianti-red vinyl banquette at Neary’s in far east Midtown, for more than two decades her haunt for lunches of lamb chops and wedge salads. Parked on the table are two of her latest gifts to culture: Gifft chardonnay and a Gifft red blend. The wine, $20 a cork pop (er, screw top), officially launches Thursday.

But an unofficial tasting is afoot at Neary’s. And the stuff, grown and aged at the Scheid Family Wines vineyard in Monterey County, Calif. (she plans on donating 10% of the profits to charity), is darn drinkable, no lamb required. “I don’t like aftertastes and I don’t like bitterness. I don’t like acidity,” Gifford, 60, says. “I don’t want an interesting wine. I want an interesting novel. I want an interesting play.”

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SOURCE: Olivia Barker
USA TODAY

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