There was a time in America when professional sports and wine intersected at one very specific, and frankly, elitist level. Once considered a luxury for the few, wine was more likely to take center stage in a private box at tennis’s U.S. Open or sloop-side at an America’s Cup party than in a place to which most sports lovers could gain entry.
Thankfully, times have changed. As wine has integrated itself into our cultural fabric, it has also become part of enjoying the sports we hold so dear. Baseball, basketball, NASCAR racing, hockey, skiing—chances are, you’ll find a good glass of wine at all of these events. And guess what? You’ll be able to get—and, without taking out a second mortgage, afford—a seat there.
Top athletes and sports figures have gotten in on the action too, with impressive rosters of collectors, winery investors and all-out wine lifestyle cheerleaders among them.
This month, we pay homage to the teaming up of sports and wine, including exclusive interviews with seven of sport’s most famous personalities who are also deeply connected to wine. Each offers insight into how wine found its way into their daily routine and, in some cases, how it helps motivate them to stay at the top of their game.
Also featured, wine and sports pairings chosen by our editorial team, the best sporting venues in which to swirl and sip and top sports years connected to top wine vintages. Take note: At the game, your glass needs never go empty again.
Speaking of being at the top of their game, years spent identifying the best vineyard sites and ideal harvest times combined with winemaking techniques and blending have resulted in Chile’s best wines ever. South America Editor Michael Schachner looks at four key Chilean wine categories and what to drink from each.
Another consistent champion, New Zealand, will surprise you not for its crisp Sauvignon Blancs or silky Pinot Noirs, but its trendiest varietal wine: Syrah. Managing Editor Joe Czerwinski delves into this complex and mouthwatering red.
Also in the issue: delicious wine and food pairings from the Loire, a k a the Garden of France; our Venice-inspired wine-and-food hit list; and a look back at the momentous Judgment of Paris, 40 years later.