For Saints Owner, New Wine Is a Labor of Love

Gayle Benson, owner of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints and NBA’s Pelicans, releases first vintage from Twelfth Labour Wine Company

For Saints Owner, New Wine Is a Labor of Love
A few years after the Saints won Super Bowl XLIV, Gayle Benson and her late husband, Tom, started making plans for a wine brand. (Skip Bolen/WireImage)
Nov 24, 2020

What do you do if you already own an NFL team, an NBA franchise and your own brewery? Make some wine to drink at the end of a hard day of work. Gayle Benson, owner of the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans, announced last week the launch of Twelfth Labour Wine Company, a new wine brand featuring a Napa Cabernet Sauvignon and a Sonoma Chardonnay.

The wine project is a collaboration Benson launched with her late husband, Tom Benson, the longtime Saints owner, famous for his second-line dance, “the Benson Boogie,” which he performed on the field after Saints wins. "My husband, Tom, had a great passion for wine and always talked about how much fun it would be to have his own vineyard that made wines just the way he liked them," said Gayle, in a statement.

In 2015, they partnered with Ruston Family Vineyard in St. Helena to create the brand. John Ruston oversees the project, while consulting winemaker Robbie Meyer, who has worked at Peter Michael, Aubert and Lewis Cellars, heads the winemaking. Tom Benson passed away in 2018, but had the chance to taste the first vintage, the 2016, which has now been released.

The name comes from the late Benson's business career, which stretched from selling cars to banking to multiple sports franchises to brewing. (The Bensons bought Dixie Brewing, a historic New Orleans brand, in 2017. They recently renamed it Faubourg Brewing.)

Benson told his wife that wine would be his 12th industry. The label features Hercules subduing Cerberus, the three-headed hound of Hades, which was the famous hero's 12th labor.

Production is small, with the wine only available in New Orleans for now. But Benson hopes the wine brand will grow. In the meantime, we anxiously anticipate tasting notes from Cabernet-loving Saints coach Sean Payton and defensive end Cameron Jordan.


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