Who knew?: Golfers at their peak start wine brands - WineUncorked: Wine Reviews and Tips

Have you noticed that professional golfers at the peak of their golfing careers tend to start their own wine brands? After reviewing the Ernie Els wine range and Louis57 wines of golfer Louis Oosthuizen, I wondered if all of the sixteen golfers who have, or have had, their own wines started this need to see their name on the label after wondering what to do with the winings from major golf championships (The Open winner has received a prize in excess of £1m since 2015).

ernie and louis strydom head of ernie els wines 01This theory works for 6ft 3in tall Ernie Els (using his nickname of The Big Easy as a way to differentiate his brand's easier drinking wines) starting South African Ernie Els wines in 1999. With a career high at this period (winning the US Open twice in 1994 and 1997, then The Open twice, first in 2002 and then in 2012) the golf wins = golf wine stands.

The wineuncorked golf-wine theory also follows for Els' fellow South African Louis Oosthuizen with his Louis57 wine brand which started in 2009 when he was just 26 years-old. Louis then went on to win The Open in 2010, Masters in 2012, US Open in 2015 and the PGA in 2017. American golfer Cristie Kerr's own-label Kerr Cellars began in 2008 after a career high of winning the US Women's Open in 2007 which was later matched with a win of the Women's PGA Championship in 2010.

Unfortunately the theory breaks down with Arnold Palmer (born September 1929 - died September 2016), aka The King, golf's first television superstar who appeared regularly on screen since the early 1950s after turning professional in 1954. His career peak was during the late 1950s to early 1960s when he won the Masters four times, the US Open once and The Open twice. His wine brand, Arnold Palmer Wines, was started during his retirement in 2003 in collaboration with Luna Vineyards of Napa Valley California. The 2012 and 2014 Palmer Chardonnays are still available through Golfers Wines.

The outsider in all this is Canadian golfer Mike Weir who was at his peak between 2001 and 2005 (winning the Masters in 2003) and went on to create the Mike Weir Wine label in 2005 with wines created at his Ontario winery. Sadly the winery went into receivership in 2019.

Who will be next with a golfing wine? Both Ernie Els and Louis Oosthuizen are playing at this year's Open (starting July 15th 2021 at the Royal St. George's golf course at Sandwich in Kent) where newly crowned winner of the US Open, Jon Rahm, may decide to bottle his homeland's Spanish wines - but Rory McIlroy is perhaps a sure fire bet for a wine brand.

McIlroy may not be able to bottle his native Northern Irish wines (there are currently no vineyards in Northern Ireland) but he is known as an avid wine collector, particularly of French Bordeaux and Burgundy along with Californian Napa Valley and Australian Barossa Valley. He could use his winnings (this year's Open winner will receive in excess of $2m) to buy into the Sonoma County McIlroy Cellars winery. Unfortunately the existing owners, who are no relation, may take umbrage.

l57 private collection 2020 dec range aug2020 01

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About WineUncorked and its editor, Paula Goddard Read more