Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Speedy Vintner’s

Having recently par-taken in Wine Fest in TT, along with the fact that the Holidazes are just around the corner, I thought I’d embellish a wee bit about some racing persona’s off-season hobbies... And seeing that I’m NO wine conasuer, what in the HE-Double hockey sticks is a Shiraz? As I’ll stick to Mosel Riesling...

Mario andrettiEverybody knows the name Mario Andretti and probably quite a few know about his burgeoning wine concern in Napa valley, which began in 1996 and I’m led to believe that this is Danny B’s favourite vintner.

Andretti Winery
Frank ArcieroUnfortunately, Arciero Racing was always known as a back marker to me during the CART era, as I missed out on the team’s hey-day’s of the late 1960’s, when such notable drivers as Al and Bobby Unser, Parnelli Jones and Dan Gurney drove for them.

But I’ve heard that they were always a good team to work for, with lots of vino to be had during the team’s year end parties, hospitality chalet’s, etc, as Frank Arciero Sr. purchased the property for Arciero Family Vineyards in Paso Robles, CA in 1983 and EOS Estate Winery is also a part of the Arciero operation.

Arciero Family Vineyards

Kevin BucklerKevin is most known as the owner of The Racers Group, (TRG) having scored class victories in the Rolex 24 and 24 Heurs du Mans, the Porsche Cup and overall victory in the Daytona 24hrs as an independent Porsche competitor.

Kevin and his wife also own Adobe Road Wines in Petaluma, CA and their 2002 Adobe Road Wines Herrerias Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir won a gold medal and was chosen as best of its class in the 2005 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

Adobe Road Winery
Richard ChildressAlthough Richard Childress is best known as the team owner of the late, seven times NASCAR champion Dale Earnhart Sr., he also has entered the wine making business.

Childress Vineyards

Tom HedgesI’m guessing that nobody’s ever heard of this dude, eh? But I had the good fortune of being seated next to him on a flight to Arizona many moons ago... He struck up a conversation with me upon seeing my ALMS Portland Grand Prix T-Shirt with a Ferrari 333SP emblazoned upon it, and I ended up talking his ear off ‘bout motorsports for the next hour.

Tom informed me that he was a vintner and asked if I’d ever heard of Hedges wines? No, but he proceeded to tell me that I could pick up a few bottles at my local (QFC) grocery store. As Hedges vineyards are located in Eastern, WA in the Yakima valley.

Tom was also a Vintage Racer at the time of our conversation, campaigning an early Porsche 911 and he told me an entertaining story about trying to procure dual plug distributor caps from the Porsche factory in Stuttgart, which were going for $1,200.00 a pop. (6yrs ago) So, I urge you to give Hedges wine a try sometime soon!

Hedges Family Estate
Randy Lewis
Reportedly Lewis Cellars is one of Napa valley’s premiere vineyards in California, as Randy, a veteran of five Indianapolis 500 races has traded in his crash helmet and overalls for the more sedate speeds of being behind the wheel of a farm tractor.

Lewis Cellars
Scott Pruett
Although Pruett’s desires to try his hand at grape growing seemingly date back to his agricultural upbringing, its interesting to note that it was fellow racer Randy Lewis who helped make it happen, as its even more entertaining to hear the most successful Sports Cars piloto on the laborious process of wine making...

Scott Pruett;
“The thing that was shocking to me is that my industry, racing, has always been week-to-week and month-to-month. But to get into something where you can't even see your rewards for five to six years goes against everything I've known in my life. So with that, we ordered the plants, continued to get the field ready and waited."
Pruett harvests title and grapes
Jarno Trulli
And it seems pretty entertaining that two current Toyota racing drivers have decided to go into the vino business, as “Trulli Scrumptious” has actually been bottling his various blends of grapes for the past few years, unlike “Scooter,” who’s in the process of bottling his first harvest.

Jarno Trulli: Vintage Racer