For years, wine and football have not been a marriage of equals. Fans were mostly offered substandard wine or a selection of beer. I’ve noticed a new trend where wineries are creating special wines to honor outstanding athletic achievements.
Recently I was alerted to this trend when Bodegas Pinea was working on a new wine at a lower price point and partnered with Texas A&M Athletics, which was celebrating the Centennial Anniversary of the 12th Man in 2021, to make a wine that celebrates athletics at the school.
The wine is called 12 Wine with the intent of honoring Texas A&M fans and celebrating the leadership, integrity, loyalty, and respect that Aggies are known for. The grapes come from Pinea’s 80-acre estate that has more than 3,000 ft of elevation using tempranillo grapes.
The wine is widely distributed in Texas and served at Kyle Field. The name originally came from the idea that the fans are the 12th man on an 11-player football team. It’s about all sports and the passion that fans show combined with bringing a premium wine for that audience.
I had the chance to write about Pinea in 2021 and learn about the world-class wines they were making in the Ribera del Duero from mountain fruit.
And this was good tempranillo for the price (under $20). It is produced from estate vineyard grapes, and it was earthy and had notes of plum, cherry, fig, leather, and cloves. And the winery is located in Spain, which is different from the other teams that I found.
In my research, I found there were several college football teams that have winery partnerships:
- The University of California, Berkeley, and Sterling Vineyards
- The University of Oregon and Stoller Vineyards
- The University of Washington and Chateau Ste. Michelle
- The University of Texas at Austin and William Chris Vineyards
- The University of Notre Dame and Schramsberg Vineyards
As a college football fan, I appreciate it when quality wine is considered. After having consumed too many warm beers and watery drinks with flasks we smuggled in, a nice glass of wine would have been great. For several years I served on the Auburn University Athletics Committee, and it would have been fabulous to have a partnership with a good winery that I wanted to drink. Auburn Tigers, if you are listening, I’d love to see you step up.