From sound engineers and screenwriters to celebrity makeup artists and stylists, Variety’s series “Ask an Insider” asks top professionals within the entertainment industry to share their must-have essentials, for work … and for play. In this installment, F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo (and breakout star of Netflix’s “Drive to Survive”) talks about his new wine with St. Hugo and five other essentials he’s been enjoying throughout his summer break.
Anyone familiar with Daniel Ricciardo is aware that the F1 star is known as the “Honey Badger,” an endearing moniker based on his reputation for fearlessness on the track. Throughout his eleven-year career, he’s encountered more than a few engine malfunctions, sticky clutches, pit stop blunders, crashes and shunts — all while going 190 miles per hour.
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But if it’s his bravery inside a jet-powered speedster that has led him to win eight grand prix titles, it’s another trait that singles him out from competitors. “I’m a total perfectionist,” he tells Variety, flashing his famous double-decker grin over a Zoom call in Los Angeles.
It’s this attention to detail that is inarguably behind his success in every other industry he’s ventured into off the track: fashion, music, entertainment, crypto. After becoming the breakout star of Netflix’s F1 reality series “Drive to Survive,” Ricciardo was not only partly credited with catapulting the motor sport into a global obsession but has built a personal brand off his fame that is growing as fast as he drives.
His most recent foray? The wine-making business.
Ricciardo is in Los Angeles this week to promote the U.S launch of his DR3 X St. Hugo wine collection, which was only previously available to purchase in his home country of Australia. The vintages include a 2018 Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon and the DR3 x St Hugo 2020 South Australia Shiraz, retailing for $70 and $80, respectively.
And no, he won’t be a doing a “shoey” with his branded vino. “I think it’s too good for that,” he says through a laugh, giving an uncharacteristically meek side-eye to St. Hugo’s head winemaker Peter Munroe sitting next to him.
It might’ve been a silly question to ask. Who would celebrate the release of a high-end vintage wine by pouring it into a sweaty shoe and drinking out of it — the disgusting winning custom that has become an F1 trademark? But if anyone would it’s Ricciardo, whose carefree humor (and many, many shoeys) is just one more reason for his superstardom. In fact, viral videos of Ricciardo drinking champagne out of his sweatied driving shoes might have been the first introduction to F1 for millions of fans that had never watched the sport before last year.
Having his own wine to his name might have given Ricciardo a more sophisticated sheen, but he’s still having as much fun as ever. “Anything I get involved with I want to be passionate about it, and I want to have fun with,” he says, adding that his interest in wine began brewing while sitting around the dinner table with his Italian family.
“Wine was always a part of my upbringing and family — eating around the table, Sunday lunches at Nana and Nano’s house,” he says. “These things were just part of growing up and there was always wine at the table, sometimes homemade wine that my dad would make with his dad. It was kind of just the way that I was brought up and I was always surrounded by it.”
He wants you to know he’s not a connoisseur, though (“I’m a wine lover,” he insists). That being said, he has brought his trademark perfectionism to his new line of work. The constant back and forth with vintners, the many hours of tastings, the collaboration with designers to create an elegant label — it all requires the same detail-oriented muscles that Ricciardo puts to use on the track, sifting through data from past races or receiving feedback from engineers.
“That’s the crossover,” he says. “It’s the small details that matter.”
Below, check out Ricciardo’s new DR3 X St. Hugo blend (and four other essentials he’s been using this summer).
DR3 X St. Hugo Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
“I’ve gotten a lot of opportunities and requests [for brand partnerships] especially over the last few years but as much as the sport is international,I obviously am very much Australian and love home and so the opportunity to do something with an Australian brand carried a little more emphasis for me. I got to first meet St. Hugo through the F1 world and it was just kind of perfect.”
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“I go with both [over-ear and earbuds] but when racing normally I go with the over-ears just because when we’re on the grid before the race, there’ll be broadcasts, they want to interview us, and that’s kind of my off-limits time and it’s my moment to get in the zone, so the over-ear is more obvious and it’s a way for them to know that I’m listening to music, I’m in my zone — it’s basically my way of saying don’t touch me. I also got to customize them and I got cool little designs and stuff, we had some fun with that as well. They’re not subtle.”
The Noire 29
“The original for me was Santal 33, like that was that was the first one where I was like this stuff is pretty damn good. But I like the Baie 19, Thé Noire. I’d probably say Thé Noire is like my go to lately. I also smelled Thé Matcha 26 the other day which was I want to say was slightly more feminine, but I really liked it, that one was special.
“The neck is so important when it comes to staying in shape with F1, so having a purpose-built neck harness helps train those muscles. We do like all our strength and resistance training with that so I carry it with me everywhere. You also kind of need to keep your neck training going otherwise it very quickly lose its strength so it’s a regular piece of equipment I’ll use. It’s not the most fun, but it’s definitely essential.”
Hyperice Hypervolt 2 Pro
Courtesy of Hyperice
“We’ll have treatment on the road with masseuses and ‘physios’ but it’s not always accessible because we’re traveling so a Hypervolt massage gun is cool because you can literally just be on the couch watching a movie and just getting into like your legs or your calves, or even the neck. I love the Hyperice Hypervolt 2 Pro for getting any deep aches or pains out. It’s the perfect travel companion and comes in a convenient case that I toss in my backpack, and away we go!”
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