Friday, February 12, 2016

No need to bully people to buy this wine

Dave Schultz, Bob Clarke part of NHL wine series that will, among other things, raise money for a variety of charities.

No need to bully people to buy this wine


You could say that Bob Clarke and Dave Schultz have given Philly sports fans plenty to be thankful for since they both joined the Flyers, one in 1969 and the other in 1971.

So it’s appropriate that you should be able to toast their wines at the Thanksgiving Day table, as both are representing the Flyers in the NHL Alumni Signature Wine Series. Had a chance to taste the Clarke Cabernet Sauvignon last week and would give it a smile as big as the one he used to flash after assisting on a goal. Schultz has his label on the Chardonnay. And while it was easy to kid him about marrying his mug and signature to a Chard rather than something big and red, the fact is that both wines are made by California winemaker Ironstone Vineyards and will be well worth popping the cork and pouring out the juice.

“I know it tastes good,” Schultz said by phone recently. “Sometimes people think it’s a gimmick-type thing and they want an autograph and they’ll never drink it. I know that  the wine is excellent.. I want people to taste it; that’s why we’re doing the tastings because once they taste it, if they like that type of a wine to continue to drink it.”

Both wines are selling for $14.99, joining Mike Schmidt’s Zinfandel on store shelves. Schmidt’s is part of a home run hitters’ collection that is listed for $17.99. Schultz said you can find both his wine and Clarke’s in stores throughout South Jersey down to the Shore, and noted they are just beginning to find their way into state stores in Philadelphia area. Tastings for both are planned at those stores, and Schultz said he’ll attend some of those to lend some momentum to the sales.

The NHL Signature Wine Series features two ex-players from six different teams promoting either a Cab or Chard; among some others behind included in this series are former Blackhawks Bobby Hull and Tony Esposito, former Red Wings Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay, and former Rangers Rod Gilbert and Mike Richter.

Money from the sales will support charities affiliated with the NHL Alumni Association, and also the team and player represented. Clarke’s, as you’d expect, will go to the American and Canadians Diabetes Associations; his ability to achieve so much despite diabetes gave hope to an untold number of young athletes. Schultz selected Katie’s Krusaders, which raises funds and awareness regarding the incidence of cancer in children.

“They were responsible for building the Ronald McDonald House at St. Christopher’s Hospital,” said Schultz. “They help families who have very sick children and have to spend every day traveling to the hospital . . . they help them with paying expenses and that kind of stuff.”

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About this blog
Paul Vigna still has the seat he wrestled out of the concrete at Connie Mack Stadium parked in the finished basement, a 1980 Phillies championship mirror hanging above it. Now, why he’s kept an autograph of former Flyer Bruce Gamble on a sheet of Hockey Hall of Fame paper is another story. A native of Philly who grew up in Lansdale, he’s an assistant sports editor at the Daily News in charge of special projects who has written two columns related to sports and consumers: View From the Seats and Savvy Consumer.

Athletic contests were, for a long time, simply fun and games. Nowadays they’re just a small part of a sports entertainment industry that puts billions of dollars into play and a number of issues into motion. Moneyball indeed. You might be closer to the action than ever before, but that privilege comes at a price - and often it’s beyond what you can afford.

With that as the backdrop we’ll use this blog to dig out stories and swap advice about how the fan experience is changing and what it’s costing you now and in the future. Some of it will educate, some will let you vent. And in a sports panel format, it should allow for a consensus of opinion that can carry some weight.

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Paul Vigna
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