Did you know that Wine is a universal language? It’s true! Wine has the power to transcend languages across cultural and geographical barriers. Drinking wine is a great way to bond with friends, forge new friendships, and share stories. Wine never gets lost in translation. As the late great Ernest Hemingway said, who was probably in Spain when he proclaimed:
“Wine is the most civilized thing in the world!”
~ Ernest Hemingway
Wine lovers can be found everywhere and can be anyone, no matter the job title or status! From parents who enjoy a glass of Chianti after a long day of work and parenting duties; from teachers who grade papers and read essays while enjoying a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc or accountants who meet up for Happy Hour after staring at numbers on a screen all day.
Here at TriWine, we’re fascinated with how wine crosses the divides of socioeconomic status and the stories of how everyday people up to musicians, celebrities, and athletes first fell in love with wine.
In this post, we’re going to share stories and introduce you to both everyday wine lovers as well as top of the chain wine lovers such as athletes, musicians, and celebrities who’ve entered the wine biz.
EVERYDAY WINE LOVERS
URBAN WINE TRIBE
Meet John Michael, Wine Influencer, and Culture Enthusiast from New York City. John owns and hosts his own YouTube Channel called Urban Wine Tribe TV, a wine brand and media company that hosts and produces wine shows and content by incorporating urban art, music, and culture. John started Urban Wine Tribe TV to help remove the cultural barriers found in the wine industry and to show everyday wine lovers like himself
John uses beautiful urban art and street graffiti from the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn as backdrops for his Instagram posts. He uses these urban backdrops as a way to introduce to feature himself drinking the wine of the day wearing the latest Hip Hop Fashion. Each post features a poetic hip hop caption from the likes of Jay Z, Biggie Smalls, or Nas.
“Like street art, we have to bring wine to where common people can appreciate it. Art isn’t meant to be just hung in swanky art galleries and museums, just like wine isn’t only supposed to be enjoyed at swanky wine tastings and with fancy foods.
~ John Michael, Urban Wine TV
John’s love of wine and culture is so deep, that he also created a comic book called Urban Wine Comics where he’s illustrated as the Wine superhero who educates people and takes down wine snob bullies! It’s a must-read! To learn more about Urban Wine Tribe, check him out on Instagram @urbanwinetribe
MILLENIALS DRINK WINE
Meet Tina and Liz, BFFs from Boston and New York City who both like to drink wine but were intimidated by all the wine jargon like terroir and tasting notes. In their 10 year journey of documenting, pouring wine behind the bar, and testing over 2500 wine bottles, they decided to create Millenials Drink Wine. Their platform is used to educate Millenials on what to drink, where to drink, and how to drink wine using humor and sarcasm mixed in with wine knowledge.
Both Tina and Liz share a WSET Level 2 certification, which qualifies them as a beginner to intermediate experts on exploring wine and spirits in the wine industry.
ATHLETES IN THE WINE BIZ
Athletes in the NBA and NFL are wine lovers just like you and me. Ever watch Lebron James looking dapper casually walking into the Staples Center with a stern game face holding a water bottle? Of course not, he’s holding a glass of red wine! For the past few years, people have started noticing a trend as athletes, mainly NBA players, post on their social media about traveling to wine countries like France, Italy, and Napa. Some athletes travel to these wine countries with their teammates for group wine tastings, some take their spouses for romantic getaways or sometimes they travel alone with their wine case to stock up.
Which athlete or team is the most passionate oenophile of them all you ask? Well, legend has it that Lebron is the go-to man on the team when you want to know the best wine to buy. According to Kevin Love, Lebron’s former Cavaliers teammate who traveled with him when the whole team toured the Mayacamas Napa Winery, stated when it comes to wine, Lebron has a supercomputer in his brain. He can put his nose in a glass of wine and pick out all the notes down to the soil. When Lebron takes wine tours, he asks questions about production costs right down to soil differences. Lebron’s passion for wine runs deep and you would only need to peruse his Instagram account to see how deep his passion runs.
With so many athletes becoming wine enthusiasts, one has to wonder “What’s the connection between sports and wine? The answer to that question may just be as simple as their love of the game. Athletes are a product of so many unseen hours of them perfecting their craft; wine is also made this way. For both wine and the game to shine, it takes so much work that no one sees the hidden details of these two crafts perfections.
Many athletes have created their own wine brand and have even invested in owning vineyards. Check out their stories below!
DWAYNE WADE, RETIRED?
Dwayne’s wife, actress Gabrielle Union and author of “We’re Going to Need More Wine” takes credit for Wade drinking wine as when they met he didn’t drink wine at all. When Gabrielle created her wine brand Vanilla Puddin, a Califonia Chardonnay, Wade became interested in learning more. By 2014, he launched his wine label, D Wade Cellars in California with iconic Napa Wine producer Jason Pahlmeyer. D Wade Cellars was fueled by the love of food and great wines he shared with his teammates. D Wade Cellars features a red blend, cabernet, and Rosè.
CARMELO ANTHONY, PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS
Carmelo not only enjoys wine but he takes part in many blind tastings and tasting groups. He even travels around with 6 bottles of his favorite varietals in a wine case when they have away games. Carmelo prides himself on having the ability to pair any wine with any dish and his main goal is to get at least three of the notes when a master sommelier gets 12 out of 12.
Over the years, Anthony has developed his palate and believes that knowing your palate is key to keep you from getting lost in the vast wine industry.
“”You gotta find your own palate,” “It’s like art. Like everybody can’t go buy the Basquiats and the Rembrandts, the big pieces. That’s how I look at wine, you gotta figure out what you like.”
~ Carmelo Anthony
From Melo’s recent social media postings, it looks like he’s planning on building a wine cellar!
JIMMY BUTLER, MIAMI HEAT
Jimmy Butler is obsessed with Tuscan Cabernet Sassicaia 2010 by Tenuta San Guido, a vintage winery in Bolgheri, Tuscany! He loves it so much he carries bottles in his wine case and even purchased $140,000 worth (500-600 bottles) and keeps it in his wine cellar.
Butler’s obsession with Sass started in 2013 when Mark Wahlberg invited him to the set of Transformers which was being filmed in Chicago and Butler was playing for the Bulls. Wahlberg gave Butler his first sip of Sass and he became hooked. Since then, Butler has been making frequent trips to Bolgheri to taste all the vintage wines.
“The reason that I enjoy wine so much is … you can never know everything about wine!” “And every person has their story and every bottle of wine has its story, so it’s interesting to me that the more you learn about it, the more you realize how much more you have to figure out and learn. It’s infinite.”
~ Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat
Since the NBA is on lockdown and the world is practicing social distancing, Jimmy and Carmelo have created an hour-long Livestream Instagram show called “What’s in Your Glass!” The show is a way for athletes, celebrities, and wine lovers all over the world to focus and enjoy their second favorite hobby ~ Wine!
Retired NFL players Dan Marino and Damon Huard of the Miami Dolphins have their own Washington winery named Passing Time which opened in 2011. They are both dedicated winemakers and their involvement includes farming the land, learning the ins and outs of the business as well as marketing the wine.
“It was a challenge in the beginning for people to take us seriously.” “Putting Marino’s name on a bottle doesn’t say anything about us. We’re trying to make America’s next great Cab. We are all about making the best wine we possible can.”
~Damon Huard, Retired NFL Alum
Drew Bledsoe debuted Doubleback Winery in 2007, located in the wine region of Walla Walla, Washington State where he was born and raised.
“From the beginning, the goal was to have the wine accepted by the wine community, not necessarily football fans. “They can come along for the ride, too, but we want to be a serious wine.”
~Drew Bledsoe, Retired NFL Alum
Many celebrities such as musicians, actors, and actresses have also started their own wine brands or purchased vineyards. Snoop Dog has partnered with 19 Crimes wines and will be releasing Snoop Cali Red this summer; Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie co-own Chàteau Miraval in Provence that produces the famous Whispering Angel and Miraval Rosès; Sting and his wife Trudie Styler own vineyard Il Palagio, they produce organic, biodynamic wines often named after his songs.
Wine has been, is, and will always be a universal language! That’s the one thing that makes wine so special because no matter your nationality, age, societal boundaries, or wine preference, you can share a glass or bottle amongst old friends and even forge new ones. Wine creates a means of communication between people and during this global pandemic, wine has proven to be that one constant that keeps us connected, now virtually! At the end of the day, people are always ready to share a glass of wine, a laugh, and a conversation!