Stars and Wine

Lily Collins: women have taken ownership of wine

34-year-old Lily Collins is the daughter of Genesis frontman Phil Collins. She is also an actress and the heroine of ‘Emily in Paris’, a series that has achieved global success and provided a showcase for the French luxury goods industry, for its fashion, gastronomy and its most iconic wines…

Lily Collins with a glass of wine in the series Emily in Paris

In ‘Emily in Paris’, your character seems to be drinking a top French wine in every episode. Would you say that wine plays a pivotal role in the Netflix series?

It’s nothing new, you know. Wine has become a part of the narrative symbolising social success and female empowerment. In the past, in films or series, the enjoyment of drinking wine was the prerogative of men. Women were side-lined and were simply onlookers as men savoured exceptional beverages – they weren’t able to indulge in the same way. Now, there are female sommeliers in all the top restaurants and I can assure you that they are every bit as competent as their male counterparts!


Lily Collins, Lucas Bravo and Lucien Laviscount drinking wine in Emily in Paris

So ‘Emily in Paris’ provides an amazing showcase for French wines…

Absolutely! But the idea is not simply to introduce any old wine with no thought or strategy. The glass or bottle of wine must be a natural and integral part of the scene, in an organic way. They must adapt to the situation and not the opposite way around, because you can’t hoodwink viewers! They realise immediately when someone is trying to sell them something! You’re right in saying that the series is a showcase for the French lifestyle. I’ve been told that a lot of my fellow Americans were curious to know about the wines we taste, the restaurants we eat in and the brands of clothes we wear. I admit that Paris is in some ways idealised and fantasised in the series, but what’s important is promoting the destination. French appellations are synonymous with excellence and prestige. I read an article stating that wine is France’s second largest export industry after aviation and ahead of cosmetics, and that Americans are now the largest consumers of French wines by volume!


Lily Collins in Emily in Paris

Do you remember your very first experience with French wine?

A few years ago, I would often visit the tourist areas in Paris. Then one day I realised that perhaps the time had come to break the habit. That’s how I started wandering aimlessly along the streets, guided by my desires and my instincts. I would deliberately get lost, which led me to discover places that weren’t necessarily featured in the guide books.


Which ones for example?

I remember one evening when I stopped at a wine bar in the Marais district. It was summer and the tables were laid up outside and in the street. The atmosphere was festive and everyone was singing. I can still remember the delicious chilled rosé I was served that day! Another memorable experience was during a cocktail party on the Ile de la Cité when I got the opportunity to discover Saint-Emilion. When I saw the year on the bottle, 1953, I was amazed. Just think, my father was only two when the wine was bottled! 


Lily Collins in Emily in Paris taking a selfie