Sports idols play, win in wine game
With the Super Bowl just around the corner I thought it would be fun to add a little wine trivia to your sports day activities. Did you know many of your favorite NFL players, golf and basketball legends and even owners have joined the wine game?
Growing up in Walla Walla, Wash., Drew Bledsoe had grape vines growing in his backyard. Owning a winery was a lifelong dream of the famed New England Patriots quarterback. Doubleback, founded in 2008, specializes in small batch high-end cabernet sauvignon and is gaining winning status with many accolades, including the Top 100 list for Wine Spectator.
Being a longtime admirer of wine, nine-time Pro Bowler, Heisman winner and Super Bowl champion Charles Woodson took to the winery. His Twenty Four Wines is named after the jersey number he wore the longest for the Oakland Raiders. Woodson partnered with Rick Ruiz, of Robert Mondavi fame. Charles Woodson Wines focuses on high-end cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc, producing fewer than 1,000 cases every year.
Greg Norman’s approach to golf and life has earned him the nickname The Great White Shark. Norman carried this nickname into his Greg Norman Estates wines with the symbolic shark on the label. The collection features wines from some of the greatest wine regions around the world: California, Australia and Argentina. The wines are produced in the philosophy Norman feels are to be approachable yet bold, from his wineries to you, enabling you to “discover your shark side.”
Football legend Mike Ditka’s venture in the wine business was a natural evolution considering his Chicago restaurants and growing interest in the food business. He partnered with Bill Terlato of Terlato Wines to create a private label available to general consumers and not just his restaurant patrons. He named the wines mostly in honor of different aspects of his career, such as “The Player,” “The Coach,” “The Champion” and “The Hall of Famer.”
San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is part of the team effort behind A to Z Wineworks. Its pinot noir has twice been named to Wine Spectator’s Top 100 wines and the pinot gris is consistent in its Best Buy recommendations. The winery has a dual mission offering “Aristocratic Wines and Democratic Prices” and blending vintage after vintage of exceptional pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot gris.
- 2012 Greg Norman Estates Chardonnay, Australia (about $12 retail)
- 2014 A to Z Wineworks Pinot Gris, Oregon (about $14 retail)
- 2014 A to Z Wineworks Pinot Noir, Oregon (about $19 retail)
- 2014 Greg Norman Estates Cabernet Sauvignon, California (about $16 retail)