Ever wonder what professional golfers do when they retire? They play golf, of course. But it seems many also have a soft spot for launching their own wine labels. Over the past decade, Arnold Palmer, Nick Faldo, Greg Norman and several other big swingers have gotten involved in the wine making business to varying degrees. Many simply lend their name to a label, others are more directly involved.
There are obvious reasons for wineries to partner with celebrity golfers (you know, that fame sells thing), as well as for wine-loving golfers to sign with a winery (it's a heck of a lot cheaper than starting your own winery).
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Two of the latest to join the wine ranks are Annika Sorenstam, who released a Chardonnay this summer in partnership with Wente Vineyards in Livermore (she launched the Annika brand in 2009 with a Syrah), and Jack Nicklaus, who released a Napa Cabernet and a Bordeaux-Syrah blend with Terlato Wines this summer.
The Sorenstam-Wente partnership is hardly a shocker, as the family built a golf course ten years ago on their property with the help of another wine-enthusiast golfer, Greg Norman. Though the winemaker is owner Karl Wente, Sorenstam reportedly pops up to the winery to give her tasting approval before the each vintage's final release. Her first Chardonnay, a 2008 vintage, was released this summer at Wente during (surprise, surprise) a swanky round of golf.
Nicklaus' partnership with Terlato Wines also has that requisite celebrity namesake label (Jack Nicklaus Wines). The first bottles of the inaugural 2007 vintage, a Cabernet Sauvignon and private reserve blend, were uncorked at St. Andrews this summer.
Funny, even with our $25 annual pass for L.A.'s municipal golf courses, Squid Ink wasn't invited to either event.