The 2016 Valspar #Golf Championship starts in Palm Harbor, Florida, tomorrow (live in the UK on Sky Sports 4 from 20:00) and three major golfers who have successfully ventured into the #Wine industry with their own wine labels will be there: the British Luke Donald, South-Africa’s Retief Goosen and the Canadian Mike Weir.
Many keen golfers are wine passionate and various wine regions are also home to renowned golf courses: the Bordeaux region in France, Lombardy, Tuscany and Veneto in Italy, the Adelaide region in South Australia and the Napa Valley area in California to mention (but a few). Unsurprisingly, combined golf and wine tours have become quite popular among golfers.
This trend has probably inspired some professionals to start their own wine production.
In 2000, legendary British player Nick Faldo began to endorse two wine labels produced at the Katnook Estate vineyards in Coonawarra, an Australian district renowned for red wines. They subsequently got out of production, although bottles may still be found for sale. In late 2015, the great Nick started a new wine collection, the Faldo Shield: six stripes in claret and green representing his six Major Championships. “I wanted to create a European range that encapsulated my love for the wines and regions that I have encountered over the years” tells Faldo. The selection includes 4 reds and 2 whites, the flagship wine being the Faldo Barolo Bussia Monti from Piedmont, Italy.
Outside of Europe, Retief Goosen produces wine at the The Goose Wine Estate in the Upper Langkloof valley, close to the Outeniqua Mountains, on the Garden Route of South Africa. The range of wines produced is quite wide: from the flagship Goose Expression, a sophisticated 14.2.% red made with Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, to the Goose Sauvignon Blanc, awarded with a 17/20 score by Jancis Robinson: “...very firm and succulent, with minerals on the nose. Very refined and appetizing. It shouldn't age too fast. Quite an eye opener for this taster...” (2012). The maiden vintage of The Goose Expression was the 2005, while The Goose Sauvignon Blanc was the 2008.
Another player, Englishman Luke Donald, prefers California. He partners with fine wine professional Bill Terlato of the family-run Terlato Wine Group, to produce, among others, the very interesting Luke Donald, a 13.8% Claret made with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Production started in 2008. “I play an active role in crafting the wines that bear my name. I really want the wines to best reflect my own personality and style” says Donald, who has made history by becoming the first player ever to finish number one on both the PGA TOUR and the European Tour money lists during the same season (2011).
On even a larger scale, from 2005 Canada’s Mike Weir runs a winery in Beamsville, Ontario. A specific praise goes to his Weir Limited Edition White Merlot: crafted from the small 3.3 acre plot of Merlot planted in the Southern Block of the Family Vineyard, it is an extremely aromatic white wine produced from red grapes. This White Merlot bears characteristics of ripe peaches, red berry-fruit, wild honey and soft floral notes dominating the nose.
Soon, we will talk about Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and other big golfers with a passion for wine that has turned into business...they are all probably aware that nothing is better than a glass of Shiraz or Sauvignon Blanc with your buddies after a golf round...Libiamo!