Athletes with their own wineries and vineyards
Athletes, coaches, and figures in the sports world often look to branch out into the business world, and one way many have done that in recent years is through wine. Some have bought wineries of their own, while others have lent their names and likenesses to brands within the space.
In celebration of National Drink Wine Day on Thursday, Feb. 18 (seriously, there’s a national day for everything), we’ve put together a list of some of the most notable names to get involved in the wine scene.
Perhaps the most well-renowned wine expert in sports, the San Antonio Spurs coach was even asked about wine pairings during an in-game interview this past season. He partnered with A to Z Wineworks to purchase Rex Hill Vineyards and Winery, and had an extensive wine cellar in the San Antonio mansion he once owned.
The longtime football coach guided the "Greatest Show on Turf" St. Louis Rams to a Super Bowl title in 1999, but that wasn’t the only major life event for him that year. He co-founded Vermeil Wines a few short months later, and the winery is still going strong in Northern California’s Napa Valley after more than two decades.
Though perhaps best known as the man Tom Brady replaced, Bledsoe was no slouch as a quarterback, throwing for nearly 45,000 yards in his 14-year career with the Patriots, Bills, and Cowboys. He founded the Doubleback Winery, which harvests its grapes from Washington state (fitting, since Bledsoe played his college ball for the Washington State Cougars).
One of basketball’s most electrifying playmakers during his time with the Miami Heat, Wade was introduced to the world of wine by fellow NBA stars LeBron James and Chris Paul. He co-founded D Wade Cellars in 2014, and his wines have been sold in both the United States and China.
The greatest hockey player to ever lace up a pair of skates waded into the world of wine by founding Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery and Distillery, which manufactures and sells both wine and whiskey. The business has two locations in Canada, one in Ontario and another in British Columbia.