Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Porn star makes wine: an interview from the archives

Going through some old files last week, I found this story that never ran in its intended publication; the editor got cold feet. Never too late for a porn star-makes-wine story. This is the unedited original story from 2007.

“There are two things I have to ask you about: wine and sex,” I tell porn star Savanna Samson in our phone interview. “Which one do you want to talk about first?”

She paused; I imagined her doing that little lip-biting thing women do when they’re faking orgasms (I mean in the movies, of course.) Then she said, “Um, sex?”

Yee-haw! Samson, whose real name is Natalie Oliveros, has just released her first wine, an Italian red called Sogno Uno. That’s how a wine writer gets away with interviewing her.

But honestly, if I want to talk about gentle grape crushing or wild strains of yeast, I can call any of the hundreds of winemakers in the 707 area code. Yet very few of those winemakers can I ask about DP (that’s industry slang for “double penetration”).

“I always said I wouldn’t do more than three guys at once,” Oliveros says. “Then Chi Chi Larue, the director of ‘Savanna Samson, Superstar,’ wanted me to do five guys at once. I said, OK, for you I’ll do it.”

You gotta love that dedication. 
While Oliveros has to struggle to look like she’s enjoying quintuple penetration, she says girl-girl scenes are easier for her than for most porn stars.




The results are obvious: she and Jenna Jameson won an Adult Video News award this year for the best all-girl sex scene in the film “The New Devil in Miss Jones,” which also won best film. Oliveros also walked away with the award for best actress.

“A lot of girls are there just for the money. They’re not into girls,” Oliveros says. “I think everybody’s a lesbian whether they admit it or not. Before I did these movies, any time I was alone, I would always think about a girl.”

Oliveros was an exotic dancer before her porn career, and that’s when she first explored the girl-girl thing. That’s also when she met the man who would eventually get her into the wine industry: Daniel Oliveros, a Manhattan wine merchant who specializes in old Bordeaux.

One fateful night, Daniel brought his girlfriend to Scores, the nightclub where Natalie was working.

“My girlfriend had a few glasses of Champagne and Natalie came over and danced for us,” Daniel says. “My girlfriend invited her to come to dinner with us. I guess she felt safe because my girlfriend was there.”

Natalie says, “I broke all my rules when I met my husband. Everybody wants to go home with you, but my rule was never to meet a customer outside the club.”

So what was it about Daniel, I ask, that made him special? 


“He wore these red glasses and he was so charming and full of knowledge. I just had to know him better,” she says, and I find myself adjusting my own red eyeglasses.

When Natalie showed up at the restaurant, “There were 15 people at the table,” she says. “His partner, his partner’s wife, his friends, his friends’ wives. There was a beautiful little girl there and I didn’t know why. When she called him ‘Daddy,’ I was hooked.”

Just in case the entourage wasn’t inducement enough, Daniel had brought a few special wines; Natalie remembers a 1900 Chateau Margaux and an aged Lafite-Rothschild.

“I had him write down all the wines so I could tell my dad,” she says. “I didn’t think I would ever be able to pronounce them.”

Her new brand (see below)
Natalie was no stranger to wine. Her Italian-American father had a grape crusher in the basement and made his own wine from purchased grapes in their home in Watertown, New York.

“We were always so proud of the wine,” she says, recalling an incident where she was called to the principal’s office of her Catholic school because she had allowed some of her classmates to sample some. “The sister asked, ‘Who’s drinking the wine?’ I gave up the whole neighborhood.”

Oliveros was a performer from an early age, studying ballet — she still does, for fun — and acting.

“I loved ballet but I don’t have nice feet,” she says; sorry, foot fetishists. “I moved to Manhattan for ballet and I started dancing at Scores as a way to make some excellent money. I found my confidence in the nude.”

She also had found the right partner, as soon as Daniel broke up with his previous girlfriend. When Daniel and Natalie decided to get married, he asked for two wedding presents from her. One was a large picture he liked of Natalie in her ballet outfit. And the other?

“I asked her for the wedding present to make an adult film with somebody in Europe, and she did,” says Daniel, who adds, “Before I met her, I was an aficionado of the (adult film) industry.”

Natalie made the film, which turned out to be a great career move. She was discovered by Vivid Entertainment, which she says is one of the best places to work in the porn industry. Not only does Vivid pay better than most, Vivid girls get to choose their male costars.

“I don’t know how guys do it,” she says. “They show up to work and don’t know who they’re working with. All the Vivid girls have a list. When I cast, I have to find somebody who’s good with me in the sack, and they also have to be able to deliver the lines. I want great scenes.”

While viewers might want to believe that the dialogue in porn films is improvised, Oliveros says all those cries of “Ohh,” “Oh my God” and “Harder, harder!” are scripted. Surprisingly, the one thing that’s not scripted is the sex itself.

“They don’t tell you what to do, they just tell you who you’re with,” she says. “If I’m with two guys I know I’m going to have to put out DP. But when you see a script, it says B/G for boy/girl, or B/B/G, or G/G.”

I found this revelation very exciting, as my initials are W.B.G., and people always ask me what the W. stands for. If I were to switch careers, who knows? Wolverine? Wildebeest? Weimaraner? The imagination boggles.

I ask Daniel what it’s like watching his wife be the G when shooting a B/B/G, and he says, “Spectacular. It’s the biggest turn-on I could ever have. Perhaps it would bother me if I married a virgin.

“I don’t measure love by sex,” Daniel says. “She’s a fabulous mother. She’s an amazing mother. I know if I die in a plane crash our son will be raised the right way, with a lot of love.”

Back to the wine. Natalie says part of the reason she wanted to create her own wine was because of the short shelf-life of porn stars.

Traveling in Italy with her husband, she met respected consulting winemaker Roberto Cipresso, who offered to drink a bottle from his cellar with her.

“Roberto came out with an old bottle and the way he held it, it was so reverent,” she says. “I asked him if he would make my wine and he said he would be honored.”

Oliveros says she was an active participant in the making of her wine, tasting 50 different samples from different vineyards. Cipresso urged her to consider Cesanese, an ancient grape not much seen today. She tasted it and agreed

“It’s so spicy,” she says. “I could have Merlot or Cabernet and it would be safe. This wine really represents who I am. The spiciness, from the naughty side. It’s elegant, for my ballet side. And I like to say, 10 percent of the time I’m sweet.”

The initial production was small, less than 1,000 cases, because Oliveros wasn’t sure how much wine she could sell. 
“I knew that my wine would be successful even if I had to fall back and have it in every strip club in the country,” she says.

When Robert M. Parker Jr. gave the wine 91 points, he legitimized it. Sogno Uno isn’t just a porn star’s wine now; it’s a 91-point Parker wine. Just ignore the suggestive silhouette on the label. Or don’t.

And what kind of food should one have with this wine? 
Meat, of course. Sausages. Philly cheese steaks. Hamburgers shaped like the Washington Monument. 


Update: ABC News did this interview with Savanna Samson in 2012, in which she said being a mom is the most important thing for her now, but she's still making porn films. 

In 2013, Wine Searcher ran this story about Samson's wine ventures in Italy. I didn't write it, I'm Wine Searcher's California Editor, not its porn editor. So don't send me those samples. But now it can be told: I watched her version of "The Devil In Miss Jones" before writing the story above.

Under her real name of Oliveros, she is now part-owner of La Fiorita winery in Italy. Congratulations!

Follow me on Twitter: @wblakegray and like The Gray Report on Facebook.

4 comments:

winterspeak said...

off topic, but beltramos has a sake tasting this Saturday. a first for them I think. As I know you're an expert, any thoughts on the line up?

W. Blake Gray said...

That's a really good lineup, if you're in the area you should go.

Keep in mind that with sake, mouthfeel really matters, and some of the sakes that are showiest in the store may not be as versatile at home. Same with wine, of course.

Kampai!

winterspeak said...

Cool!

Bob Henry (Los Angeles wine industry professional) said...

Blake,

Does Savanna's dedication include the traditional stomping of the grapes ("pigeage") buck naked?

Links:

http://www.drvino.com/2009/09/29/waiter-theres-a-naked-woman-in-my-wine-caption-this/

http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/primal-winemaking

Now that's a "naked" wine that has my attention.

~~ Bob