Emmy Award-winning sports commentator Jim Nantz, known for calling everything from the Masters Tournament to the Final Four and the Super Bowl for the CBS Television Network since 1985, is teaming up with a top player in the wine industry. Nantz and Peter Deutsch, CEO of Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits–based in White Plains, New York–have paired up to produce a Sonoma-based wine brand named The Calling.
The brand will be introduced to the market this month.
The two met one evening at a restaurant in Connecticut, where Nantz mentioned his long-standing desire to enter the wine business.
"Through time, and many brainstorming sessions, we decided it was a calling at this stage in our lives to try something new," Deutsch says. "We realized we could team up and build something special. Our shared virtues bonded us as business partners."
Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits currently markets more than 30 leading wine brands, but Deutsch says this is the first time his name will be on a wine label as a producer.
"For us to make this historic first step for our family company, the situation had to be just right," he says. "This was the perfect confluence of my family's ideals meshing with Jim's. We are thrilled to be presenting The Calling."
Deutsch and Nantz reached out to leading California winemaker Marco DiGiulio to identify the best vineyards for the style of wine the duo wanted to produce. They selected grapes from the Dutton Ranch Vineyards in the Russian River Valley to produce two Chardonnays: Dutton Ranch ($30) and Jewell Vineyard ($40), each aged 12 months.
Two red wines from the Alexander Valley complete the portfolio: a 2009 Rio Lago Cabernet Sauvignon aged two years ($35) and 2009 Alexander Valley "Our Tribute" Bordeaux-style blend, aged 30 month ($60).
"Jim and Peter were in concert with the wine style from our initial blending process. They had a clear vision for what they were looking for," DiGiulio says. "Together, we chose terrific vineyards in the Russian River and Alexander valleys, which gave us a great opportunity to deliver outstanding quality in the final blends."
Nantz and Deutsch also collaborated closely on the packaging design, the graphics, and copy to capture the essence of The Calling. The result is an elegant label that features a keyhole as a centerpiece of the design.
"The keyhole symbolizes the consumer's chance to unlock their calling in life," Nantz says. "Our joint calling is to make a great wine that we can call our own and that would make our fathers proud. But above all, we want to give the consumers a chance to enjoy what we believe is a spectacular hand-crafted wine."