Carnival Cruise Lines will be pouring wine made by one of its most recognizable boosters, Kathie Lee Gifford. The "Today" show host and former Carnival spokeswoman has become a winemaker, and the cruise line will be serving and selling her Gifft products on all of its 24 ships.
Gifford kicked off the new venture Sunday with an onboard tasting event in Miami to introduce her wines to passengers aboard the Carnival Breeze.
She joined on with the cruise line in the 1980s, and sang and danced her way through the memorable "Ain't We Got Fun?" and "If You Could See Me Now" ad campaigns. She says the spokeswoman gig changed her life.
"It was such a huge launch, such a successful campaign," Gifford says in a phone interview. "I became synonymous with the cruise industry."
In the two decades she worked for Carnival, Gifford took more than 40 cruises (with young children, in the days before she married football Hall of Famer Frank Gifford) and became godmother to the line's Celebration and Ecstasy ships. Her favorite places to cruise are the Caribbean and Europe.
Now she adds the wine connection to her cruise line successes.
Gifft wines, which hit the market last year, produces a Red Blend and a Chardonnay made in partnership with Scheid Vineyards in Monterey County.
And Gifford, ever the pitchwoman, blends her passion for her work, past and present, nicely.
"I'm not a snob about wine, and I'm not a snob about cruising," she says.