Tony Parker knew he wanted to get into the wine business after retiring from basketball in 2019. The four-time NBA champion with the San Antonio Spurs, who grew up around wine in France and continued his wine journey with the Spurs (often tracking down coveted bottles with head coach Gregg Popovich), recently invested with French businessman and longtime friend Michel Reybier to help grow three of Reybier’s brands.
"When we decided to join forces on the project I felt very lucky, because I can learn so much from him as one of the best businessmen in France," Parker, whose investment sum was not disclosed, told Wine Spectator. "The values around those properties matched what I wanted to do with giving back to my community."
Reybier's largely French portfolio includes Bordeaux's Cos-d'Estournel, Château La Mascaronne in Provence, Jeeper and Michel Reybier Champagnes and Hetszolo in Hungary. Starting with the 2022 harvest, Parker will be involved with Jeeper, Michel Reybier Champagne and La Mascaronne, which Reybier purchased in 2020.
"I am delighted to have been chosen by Tony as a partner for his new life as an entrepreneur, and he will work alongside me to develop the brands internationally and strengthen their distribution and presence around the world," Reybier said. "Our goal is to make Château La Mascaronne rosé one of Provence's most outstanding wines, and a true expression of our unique terroir, using only grapes grown on the estate." Without ruling it out, Reybier added that there are no current plans to develop a Parker-branded wine.
From wine dinners with coach Popovich in San Antonio to serving as co-president for the 2019 Hospices de Beaune Burgundy auction to his many conversations with Reybier, Parker feels confident he is ready to contribute. He says the ultimate goal is to maintain Reybier's organic practices and values (La Mascaronne has been certified organic by Agriculture Biologique France since 2016).
"I always played [basketball] super fast, but this is a slow business, and it takes time to have a nice bottle and let the vineyard get to its full potential," Parker said. "I hope we can create something that people will enjoy."
When asked if he received any responses from former teammates, Parker said he got a text from Popovich: "He was like 'Get me some bottles, you got my address!'"
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