Long gone are the days when Raiders and Packers defensive star Charles Woodson had to be coy about his winemaking aspirations. When he launched his first label, TwentyFour, the NFL prohibited players from endorsing alcoholic beverages. Now retired, Woodson took over a whole stadium on Wednesday night to debut his new label, Intercept. Watching the new wine's promo video on the Jumbotron at the colossal Michigan Stadium, Woodson exclaimed, "That was almost better than scoring a touchdown!"
TwentyFour is a high-end, Cab-focused lineup from Woodson's home terroir, Napa. He explained how he got started in wine, while playing with Oakland. "I used to be out in the valley, go to all these great restaurants there, and everyone you ran into was drinking wine. I would watch people sit back and sniff and swirl. It piqued my interest."
Woodson, with 65 career interceptions, was one of the most prolific pickoff practitioners in NFL history, and with Intercept, you could say he's … going in a different direction. Most notably, the wines are priced at $18. "[With] this price point, I can reach a lot more of my fans. And that's what's going to be most exciting about it," explained Woodson. A partnership with O'Neill Vintners & Distillers, the Intercept line includes a Paso Robles Cabernet, red blend and Chardonnay, plus a Monterey Pinot Noir.
At the stadium where Woodson led the Wolverines to a national championship, he pointed out the silhouette of a lion mid-pounce on the Intercept labels. Lions live in prides and hunt in packs; they're all about teamwork, he said—not so different from winemaking. "You watch this lion right here, he's in action, he's moving, he's going out to get it. That's what I did on the football field." One not-infrequent target? Now-teammate in the NFL wine locker Drew Bledsoe.
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