Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Wayne Gretzky's New Vintage Venture

by Jes

Wayne Gretzky, aka "The Great Whiner", apparently got bored and wanted a new revenue stream for his spoiled family to bet on NFL games.

The product? A fine vintage wine ... fitting, given that Gretzky was/is the biggest whiner in the game.

The Canadian icon is lending his name to a line of Niagara wines, which he unveiled Tuesday at his downtown Toronto restaurant, Wayne Gretzky's. The classy label bears the No. 99, a number the National Hockey League retired when Gretzky ended his career in April, 1999.

A Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery is planned for Niagara by 2009.

But the man considered by many to be the greatest hockey player of all time, admits his knowledge of wine isn't great. He's not a collector of wines, but enjoys a glass or two with wife, Janet, over dinner.

Gretzky is leaving the job of winemaking to the experts, his partner and Niagara winery owners Peter Jensen and Laura McCain-Jensen and their winemaking team, Rob Power and Craig McDonald, at Creekside Estate Winery in Jordan Station.

Gretzky, the NHL's all-time leading scorer who won four Stanley Cups in his career, knows a winner, and he senses one with his wine.

"I don't know a whole lot about wine. I can tell you if I like the taste of something or if I don't like the taste of something," Gretzky, 46, told Osprey News Network.

"When Peter (Jensen) gave me the first couple of bottles to let me sample it, I felt strongly that it's very good tasting wine, and people are going to enjoy it."
How many off-ice ventures of Gretzky's have failed? Hmm?

Here at Hockey Rants, we called up our favourite Molvanian psychic and got a glimpse into the three main product lines that Gretzky's vinery will produce.

1. A young Riesling wine that is fairly cheap, sweet, has exceptional taste and clarity, and achieves the highest rating on the market. This will be the best wine on the market, by far, and is best sipped with a big side of Alberta beef.
The newly-founded Chateau de Lemieux presents a challenge, but the bottles are known for breaking easily.

2. An medium-aged Chardonnay that has a flashy black-and-silver label, is very expensive, and not quite as sweet as the Riesling. It's very popular in the USA, especially in California. It's a good wine, but not worth the massive price tag. Good with sushi.

3. A very well-aged and bitter Merlot, with grapes that were picked well past their ripened state. Experts are afraid to give this wine a bad score, despite the fact that it's a terrible wine and not effective with your dinner. Highly overrated, especially by the Canadian media. Despite the bitterness, experts continue to drink just to fit in with the mainstream crowd.

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The last wine-Gretzky career analogy is a little too harsh IMO. Even at the end of his career Gretzky was certainly a legitimate star and impact forward, even if he wasn't anything like his early form.

I didn't really find Gretzky too much of a whiner later on, though it was a definite trait up until the mid 80's.
A better analogy for the bitter merlot might be his less then stellar exploits as a coach, and his seeming inability to grasp even the most basic concepts of line matching.
Rand - the Merlot wine IS Gretzky's post-playing career.

Yeah, I didn't fit the Rangers/Blues in there, but I couldn't think of anything for that time.

Gretzky has been living on purely his name, and is clearly not a great coach. All he does is whine ala Marc Crawford.
Please add to your blogroll.:
Great to see a hockey blog still getting some love after the season. Keep it up! I just wanted to tell you, when you write new blog posts, go over to and post a link to your story, and hopefully get a few extra readers for your blog.
Posts like this are why I like this blog. I agree with everything you said.
Hmmmmm...I wonder if ol' Wayne is getting help/advice/etc. from Ron Francis, often considered the NHL's premiere wine connoisseur.* If not him, then possibly Le Magnifique, who's up there in wine circles too.

One thing I do know: Regardless of whoever is helping Wayne out in the basics of the vino world, IF he is being helped, considering his ego**, that wine ain't gonna be cheap.

* - Ron Francis factoid of the moment: More often than not, the man is credited as being among the few who have made wine tasting functions more en vogue in the Raleigh, NC I've read in a couple of Raleigh News and Observer articles.

** - Very needless to say, it is not nearly as bad as Messier's...that said, as much as I *really* want my beloved Ronnie to get into the Hall of Fame this year, I am starting to think next year would be A WHOLE LOT better, considering that the, Marky-Mark Is Great party SHOULD be out of the way by then.
The author of this poorly written artical has most of it all wrong.

I for one, work in the Canadian Wine Business, and the 3 wines that were launched are: 1) Chardonnay 2) Meritage - a blend of 3 grapes 3) Ice Wine.

All 3 are extreemly well priced and great value for the money.

Also, the profits are are going to his charity fund, helping kids in hockey ....
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