Antonio Banderas has lit up the screen as the love interest of Madonna, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and even Tom Hanks, but these days he’s spending as much time on wine as movies with his Anta Banderas Winery.
Banderas, whose ruggedly handsome looks hardly show his 51 years, was born in the Andalusia region of Spain and began his acting career in theater there. He received international recognition after appearing in the 1988 Oscar-nominated film Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. From there it was off to Hollywood, where he filmed Mambo Kings in 1992 and began to learn English. But it was his Spanish roots that truly inspired his desire to make wine.
“Twenty two years ago I came to America,” said Banderas. “Wine became kind of a bridge that could take me [home]. In a bottle of wine there is something that’s there of the land that I love.”
While Banderas has ventured out to non-Hollywood projects previously (he has his own cologne brand), he is very passionate about his new winery. The project began in 2009 when he bought into a winery in the Ribera del Duero region of Spain. “When I decided to make the wine, I immediately fell in love with the area,” Banderas said.
The place was originally called Anta Bodegas, with “AB” as a symbol, coincidentally Banderas’ initials. He decided to keep the first part, and the 235 hectares are now producing wines under the new name, Anta Banderas Winery.
“It’s not so different from making movies,” Banderas said. “When you make movies, you may not be an artist ever, or you may make up your mind to be an artist. You can create things.” Only three Anta Banderas Winery products are currently available in select US states like California: Anta a4, Anta a10, and Anta a16.
When asked which wine he likes best, Banderas replied, “My favorite is actually Anta Banderas a10. For me, it’s the best wine.” But he actually prefers white (a chardonnay is available at the winery) when it comes to one of his favorite Spanish dishes, paella, which he usually makes in the morning.
If you’d like to sample that white, you’re welcome to stop by if you’re in Spain. “We don’t have prepared tours, but we never close our doors to anybody," said Banderas. "If you go there, you see can the winery—the winery itself is very ecological. It’s very beautifully made, basically of wood and glass.”
It looks like these Anta Banderas wines are only the beginning. “We are learning, we are working, and in the future once we feel more secure with the product we have, we will be open to new markets and we will expand. I am not here just to put my image out there in the newspaper, I want to go further than that,” the actor said.
Banderas is as romantic off-screen about wine as he is on-screen toward his love interests. “What we try to do at the end has to do with the way we all feel about wine," said Banderas. "It’s a natural love. At the end of the day, it’s just something that you love. You have your glass of wine, a good book and the person that you love. That’s it.”