NFL Players In The Wine Biz

05 February, 2016

The average player career in the NFL is 3.3 years according to the NFLPA. There's standouts playing all positions throughout the league's history but let's face it, the NFL is far from touch football and the need to have plans beyond the gridiron is a facet of every players life. Like all of us, these seven former NFL players all had dreams and interests and when they got off the field they pursued them like a game day win.


Joe Montana

Former San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl champ and Hall of Famer Joe Montana made a wise decision when he decided to create Montagia with Beringer Cabernet guru Ed Sbragia. The 2007 vintage (a blend of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc) is the current offering, and was made with grapes grown on Napa Valley’s Howell Mountain. A portion of the high-end Cabernet-based blend’s proceeds are donated to various charities.



Charles Woodson

Twenty-four Wines
Charles Woodson has enjoyed a storied career in the NFL and certainly a long one. He began his NFL Career with the Oakland Raiders, spent a number of years with the Green Bay Packers (where he won a Super Bowl) and recently hung up his cleats in the 2015-2016 season with the Oakland Raiders after 18 years in the league.

A few years ago, being a lifelong admirer of wine, Woodson partnered up with Rick Ruiz, of Robert Mondavi fame, to launch his own brand: Twenty-Four by Charles Woodson. His Napa Valley based operation only produces two kinds of wine every year and only produces a very limited amount, guaranteeing that the batches it does produce and offer to the public are of the highest quality. They produce a limited number of cases each year of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.



Dan Marino

Marino Estates Vintage 13
Marino is a NFL legend with an unbelievable career, still holding dozens of Dolphin records, while also being the first quarterback to throw for 5000 yards in a season and 40 touchdowns in one season. On top of all that he was a 9-time Pro Bowl selection and won Rookie of the Year. Marino fans may lament that he never took home a Super Bowl ring but this missing piece never detracts from his NFL status a great quarterback.

Inspired by experiences raising their second son, Michael, who has autism, Dan Marino and his wife Claire created the Dan Marino Foundation in 1992.  Marino at one time put his name to a charity label, Marino Estates Vintage "13" California Cabernet, which benefited the Dan Marino Foundation for autism research. Marino is no longer is involved with wines, but the Marino Foundation is still very active.


Mike Ditka

Terlato Wines International
Mike Ditka may be better known as the infamous sideline hot head coach for the Chicago Bears, but prior to his storied coaching career (3 Super Bowls, 5 Pro Bowls and Hall of Fame inductee) he was an All-Star tight end for 11 years with the Bears, Eagles and Cowboys.

Joining forces with long-time friend Bill Terlato, their first attempts at wine in the early and mid-2000s were not particularly successful, but in 2012, he launched a new line of 9 wines, all of which he named to honor different aspects of his career. The wines were given names like: “The Player”, “The Coach”, “The Champion” and “The Hall of Famer”. His line has styles of wine ranging from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir in the red category, and Pinot Grigio, and Sauvignon Blanc of the white variety.


alphonse dotson

Alphonse Dotson

Wines of Dotson-Cervantes
Alphonse Dotson was the 1964 Grambling State Football All American. He then went on to the National Football League where he retired from the Oakland Raiders as a successful defensive tackle in 1970.

It’s actually a rich journey but fast forward through several years of getting their hands dirty and together he and Martha created Wines of Dotson-Cervantes. The vineyard is located in Voca, Texas, northwest of Austin. A labor of love, Alphonse and Martha purchased over 80 acres in 1997 on which the 29 acre vineyard thrives today.  Dotson, A former NFL defensive tackle for the Oakland Raiders, and his wife Martha Cervantes work the vineyard tending some of the most-prized grapes in Texas.


drew bledsoe

Drew Bledsoe

There are a lot of impressive things about former NFL star Drew Bledsoe. Any football fan can give you a long list about the quarterback who played for the New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys.

He and his wife bought property and planted some grapes back in 2003 while he was still playing ball with the Buffalo Bills. They purchased land in Walla Walla, Washington, in the Columbia Valley, where Bledsoe grew up.  They planted Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah and Petit Verdot. Today Doubleback winery features four varietals of wines annually.



Terry Hoage

TH Estate Wines
The former NFL star, Georgia All-American, and Heisman Trophy candidate is a rarity in that he may just end up being more famous for his quality wines than he ever was for football. After his playing career ended, Hoage purchased a 26-acre Paso Robles vineyard and started producing Rhone style varietals.

His wines have garnered increasingly more praise among wine enthusiasts including famed wine critic Robert Parker who raved in an 09 issue of Wine Advocate that Hoage's wines "were the kind of wine the Central Coast should be producing more."  Georgia fans can rest easy that Hoage has not forgotten his football roots as his wines - "The Gap" Cuvee Blanc, "Bam Bam" Estate Rose, "The Pick" Cuvee, "The 46" Grenache-Syrah, "The Hedge" Syrah 2007, "5 Blocks" Cuvee 2007, and "Skins" Grenache 2007 - all pay homage to his glorious football past.  


Other NFL Notables:
Dick Vermeil - Former NFL Coach - OnTheEdge Winery
Carmen Policy - Former 49ers president - Casa Piena