Celebrity-Owned Wineries: Athletes
What do Arnold Palmer, Mike Ditka and Wayne Gretzky all have in common? Other than being amazing athletes in their given sports, they’re all wine enthusiasts and all have their own wineries or vineyards! And they’re not the only athletes who got themselves into the grape game. Let’s take a look some pro-sport big winners in the world series of celebrity wineries.
True to his Canadian roots, the majority of the Great One’s great wines come from Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario and the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia. Wayne Gretzky’s wines are made with approachability, affordability and exceptional value in mind.
After retiring from the racing circuit in 1994, Andretti put his energy into his Napa Valley winery with winemaker Bob Pepi, one of the most respected winemaking experts in the United States. Putting the same enthusiasm he put into championship racing, Andretti set out to achieve that same standard of excellence in his wines.
Located on the Beamsville Bench in Niagara, Weir opened his estate winery in 2005. The profits from his wines go towards the Mike Weir Charitable Foundation, helping children with physical, emotional or financial needs. In 2014, Mike Weir Wines opened their new Winery Retail & Hospitality Center, a beautiful, modern place to sample some of the excellent wines and take in the breathtaking view of the vineyards.
You wouldn’t think that you would see NFL Hall of Famer, Mike Ditka, on this list, did you? Well in 2012, Ditka paired up with long-time friend, Bill Terlato, of Terlato Wines, to produce a line of wines worthy of Da Coach. Ditka, not only having a passion for football, but also a passion for food and wine, focuses on creating quality wines that pair well with food. Sourced mostly from vineyards in California, Mike Ditka Wines definitely scores a touchdown!
Another NFL Hall of Famer who launched himself into the wine game is Joe Montana. Partnering with Ed and Adam Sbragia of Sbragia Family Vineyards, Montana created Montagia. Their 2007, a Cabernet Sauvignon produced from a blend of Howell Mountain and Mt. Veeder grapes, is hailed as the finest offering this trio has created. Seems like another touchdown for the Comeback Kid.
Since 2004, Jeff Gordon has been tearing up the wine circuit with his boutique vintages created in partnership with winemakers August “Joe” Briggs and Jesse Inman. A four-time NASCAR champ, Gordon is finding success with his quality, small-lot wines sourced from Sonoma and Napa county vineyards. In his collection you can find Napa Valley Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, Carneros Chardonnay, and a Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.
Definitely no slouch when it comes to golfing, golf legend Arnold Palmer, dubbed the “King of Golf”, has scored himself a hole-in-one with his wines. A collaboration with Luna Vineyards, in Napa, CA, his wines are of the utmost quality sourced from some of California’s best vineyards. Palmer’s wines are mostly sold in high end restaurants, resorts and wine shops around the United States, but as his name in wine grows so too will his reach to consumers.
Doubleback Wines by Drew Bledsoe
Following in the footsteps of other NFL greats, Drew Bledsoe is making a name for himself in his hometown in the Walla Walla Valley, with his winery, Doubleback. A long time dream for Bledsoe, he has teamed up with Chris Figgins of Figgins Family Wine Estates, to see that dream a reality in 2007. His goal is to produce ultra-premium quality focused wines and in 2010 he saw his 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon release make it to Wine Spectators Top 100 List. He might just go all the way with these wines!