Summer Is a Lot More Refreshing Thanks to This Dreamy Aperitif Brand

Photo by makers & Allies

When Jennifer Kimpe and Jeanne-Marie Hebert first met as neighbors in Oakland roughly 20 years ago, they likely did not anticipate becoming such good friends that they’d one day travel the world together. It’s even less likely that they imagined they’d also create a business. But life, much like this business’ origin story, often leads one to unexpected yet beautiful places.

Kimpe, who now lives in Mill Valley, and Hebert, in Piedmont, had originally intended to take a trip to Ireland to celebrate both of their birthdays, but the pandemic waylaid those plans. Instead, they found themselves on a road trip, taking in the views of Highway 1. “We were inspired by the beauty of the California coast and the call to do something that celebrates special moments like the one we were sharing,” says Kimpe. Deciding to combine their loves of travel, drink and design, they came up with Rue de Rêve, a portfolio of modern apéritifs with decidedly Californian flair despite the French name (it translates as “Dream Street”).

“Throughout our travels, we have enjoyed the European apéritif tradition, and we have a special affection for the French language and lifestyle, leading us to a name that also honors our story of pursuing our dream,” says Hebert.

For the uninitiated, apéritifs are alcoholic drinks traditionally meant to be consumed before a meal, to awaken your appetite for what’s to come. In Europe, it’s as much a lifestyle as it is a type of beverage and it’s something that Kimpe and Hebert are hoping to instill on a local level. They launched Rue de Rêve in January 2024 with their Rosé, a blend of rosé wine from the Sonoma Coast produced in the Provençal style. Infused with strawberry, lemon, rose hip and mint, it was a refreshing start to kick off their budding business.

In May, they released Blanc, featuring Russian River Valley-produced chardonnay (boasting the addition of tangerine, orange and elderflower), and Rouge, which features carbonic zinfandel from Mendocino County, creating a pleasingly bitter blend infused with orange, lemon, cardamom and gentian root. All three varietals also include grape spirits, grape juices and artemisia douglasiana. If you’re unfamiliar with that last one, it’s also known as California mugwort, but its other moniker, the dream plant, makes it a perfect fit for this brand.

Depending on what you prefer, you can enjoy these versatile drinks chilled, over ice, with a splash of spritz or mixed into a cocktail. And of course, while they’re called apéritifs, you can consume these at any time; no need to stick to the rules of European society here. After all, as Kimpe says: “Rue de Rêve is our manifestation of the California dream.”

Available for purchase online, bottles are also sold at local spots like Mill Valley Market, Strange Magic Bottle Shop in Larkspur and Souvenir Bottle Shop in San Anselmo. If you’re looking to switch up your cocktail hour this summer, Dream Street is a pretty great place to be.


Sip the Coastal Dream Cocktail

“We created a cocktail called “Coastal Dream” with our friends from Sausalito Liquor Co. The strawberry, mint and rose hip in our Sonoma Coast Rosé apéritif pairs beautifully with their Marin Coastal Gin, crafted with 11 locally foraged botanicals.”

Coastal Dream

2 Oz Rue De Rêve Rosé

1 Oz Marin Coastal Gin

Splash of tonic

Sprig of mint