Before their marriage, Hollywood superstars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie purchased a secluded wine estate in Southern France called Miraval. At the time, the couple knew very little about wine, but quickly became keen to learn about production and distribution. The struggling estate was reportedly bleeding close to half a million euros per year, which was why it was put up for sale in the first place, but the couple — Pitt, in particular — became so enamored with wine that they brought in Marc Perrin, the famed CEO of Famille Perrin, to help turn the Miraval label into a winner. And he did — by introducing the “neglected stepchild” of the wine world to Pitt and Jolie: the rosé.
Whisper of an angel
Back in the early 2000s, rosés weren’t much of a thing yet. It was considered to be a “cheap-yet-cheerful” version of wine, something sophisticates would enjoy only from the safety of their homes and not out at restaurants where they could be seen. This was true up until 2006, when Sacha Lichine’s Chateau d’Esclans wine estate released Whispering Angel, a pretty pink rosé derived from a blend of Grenache, Rolle, Cinsault, Syrah, and Mourvedre grapes. The drink is renowned for its fresh and fruity aroma combined with citrus and grapefruit flavors. Whispering Angel quickly became a staple of yacht clubs and polo fields, owing to its exceptional drinkability — so much so that it became the poster child for rosés and remains so to this day.
Pitt and Jolie were adamant to make their rosé their own though. They wanted their product to be the opposite of Whispering Angel: juicy, fleshy, and complex. It was a smash hit. In 2013, the Miraval estate released the Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé 2012: Bottled by Jolie-Pitt & Perrin, which sold 6,000 bottles in a matter of hours. The label’s rise was meteoric after that, with the once-struggling vineyard quickly amassing revenues peaking at $50 million by 2021, just a little over a decade after ownership changed hands.
Related article: Divorcing in secret: Tips from the rich
The bitter end
Pitt and Jolie filed for divorce in 2016, which saw a bitter war for the custody of their six children — and the Miraval wine estate. Jolie got emotional about it in an email to Pitt, as she envisioned Miraval to be the place where they would grow old together, but it turned out to be the place where their family would break apart. Eventually, she agreed to a reported $54.5 million buyout deal. However, that deal fell through when Pitt demanded an NDA after Jolie filed a sealed document as part of their child custody case that offered to prove her domestic violence allegations against Pitt.
In the end, Jolie sold her investment company Nouvel, which includes her stake in the Miraval Côtes de Provence estate, for an undisclosed sum to the Stoli Group, a Luxembourg-based spirits producer. In July 2023, Nouvel filed a $350 million lawsuit against Pitt, alleging that the actor stripped and looted Miraval of its assets, spent millions on vanity projects, and refused to treat Nouvel as an equal partner in the business.
This story shows just how complicated and messy divorces can get. While divorces are rarely a smooth journey, it pays to seek the advice of proven divorce attorneys to make the process less stressful and to avoid making it more contentious than it needs to be.
Buckingham, LaGrandeur, & Williams are here to provide legal support for divorce, child custody, and other family law cases. We know how stressful these kinds of cases can be for the parties involved, which is why we strive to provide clear direction and sound advice as we pursue a favorable outcome for our clients. Reach out to us today to schedule a consultation.