Recently, my sister-in-law, who is an ace at finding unique and interesting gifts, brought us a bottle of New York Yankee Cabernet Sauvignon from the MLB Club Series Reserve. She thought we’d have fun trying it out and as usual, she was right.
I immediately had thoughts of gimmick wines like Marilyn Merlot and Game of Thrones Blend but since the Yankees brand themselves with the image of ‘Old Money’, there was a chance the wine would be quite drinkable.
Apparently, Major League Baseball and wine is a fairly recent marketing venture dreamed up by the company Wine By Design and its founder Diane Karle. The offerings started in 2014 with 7 major league baseball teams who signed up to serve and sell their own ball club branded wines. To get past the novelty perception, each team uses either winery-specific partnerships or generic region-based wine holdings. The largest source for most of the team wines is from Plata Wine Partners with their vast California Central Valley holdings.
A few teams are fortunate enough to be located in well-known regions and have access to solid producers such as the San Francisco Giants Sparkling Brut which partners with Mumm Napa and the Seattle Mariners in Washington wine country. The Philadelphia Phillies bottle Reds from local Chaddsford Winery and the NY Yankees offer Finger Lakes Riesling by Anthony Road Winery.
As the 2017 MLB season wrapped up, there were currently 20 teams sporting their own club labels with many of the MLB Club Reserve wines priced between $20- $35 a bottle.
So, did the Yankees hit it out of the ballpark?
Um, not really. But my sisinlaw did score in the fun category. The wine was more like a sacrificed bunt for the run than a grand slam. For the $25 price tag, it was just so-so and probably more suited as an accent to a great memory like sitting behind home plate in the Yankee Moat than served at home with a weekend dinner. Or to be given as a nice gift for baseball fans who collect Team memorabilia.
We still had fun trying it, though, since anything is possible before you actually open the bottle. Cheers!