Log In / Join Now

LeBron James Returns After Grueling 2-Week Wine Time-Out, Reveals He Lets Jr. Sip Wine like a European Kid

Plus, a German winemaker loses, then finds, 3,500 pounds of grapes in zany Riesling-thieving mix-up, and a wine merchant shares a letter of regret from Titanic company for losing wine (in iceberg incident)
Photo by: Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images
"I'm open!" —Amarone bottle, to LeBron James

Posted: October 11, 2018

LeBron James recently took his talents to the Los Angeles Lakers, and just a few months into his stint, he's apparently already bought into the hot yoga, green juice and #healthgoals lifestyle that's taken over the West Coast. According to the Los Angeles Times, the 33-year-old basketball star took a two-week hiatus from gluten, dairy, added and artificial sugars, and (gasp) wine, in hopes of boosting his health.

If you know LeBron, you know this undertaking was no slam-dunk. One of the most well-known enophiles in the NBA, he rarely goes long without drinking—and occasionally sharing a taste on social media—his beloved vino. So how did the herculean task go for him?

“It made me want wine more,” he said.

But huzzah, King James survived the task—and even took it a day into overtime: He celebrated the W and broke his dry spell with a bottle of 2007 Giuseppe Quintarelli Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Riserva.

Instagram/KingJames
Amarone makes the heart grow fonder.

And it's possible he toasted this accomplishment with the people closest to him: his wife—and kids. At a Lakers practice on Tuesday, James told reporters that he lets his elder children, LeBron Jr., 14, and Bryce, 11, sip "whatever Dad and Mom's having," referring to wine.

"I got very mature 14- and 11-year-olds. My 14- and 11-year-olds drink wine. That's how mature they are," he told press. "Put it on me, though, don't put it on Mom. Put it on Dad." (Three-year-old daughter Zhuri apparently still has some growing up to do.)

Of course, while some might appreciate the four-time NBA MVP's very European approach to child-rearing, not everyone was going to champion it. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) took to Twitter to respond to James' comments, writing, "We still have a long way to go to educate parents about dangers of underage drinking." In Ohio, the James' home court until recently, it is legal for parents to allow their children to have alcohol under their supervision. But in his new home of California, laws aren’t so lenient.

There is one thing for certain, though: When the James offspring do get sips of vino—we know it's good vino.


German Winemaker Loses, Finds, 3,500 Pounds of Grapes in Zany Riesling-Thieving Mix-Up

Nikolaus Werlé in Forst woke up after one nacht to find someone had harvested 3,500 pounds (worth $9,200) of prime Riesling grapes off his vines. Thief-harvesting, sadly, is not terribly uncommon, but the incident at Werlé’s vineyard appeared all the more brazen because his plots are located right next to a supermarket parking lot on the outskirts of the village of Deidesheim, where any number of people might have spotted a mechanical harvester at work.

"Quite a lot of our grapes got stolen and were missing for more then 10 days," the vintner told Unfiltered. But this case of missing Riesling has been solved. "A farmer from our neighborhood recognized that his harvester driver picked the wrong vineyard, got in touch with us, and agreed to replace the grapes from one of his vineyards," said Werlé. "So at the end it was just a mistake," and everything got, well … sorted.


British Wine Merchant Shares Letter of Regret from 'Titanic' Company for Losing Wine in Unfortunate Iceberg Incident

There are plenty of understandable excuses for why a wine shipment doesn't make it to its destination. (Like, "vandals poured it all out onto the ground.") But none might be as outrageous—or tragic, just in general—as the tale of the 69 cases of still wine, Champagne and spirits that sank with the Titanic in the early hours of April 15, 1912.

Courtesy Berry Bros. & Rudd
Troubled waters

Berry Bros. & Rudd, a historic British wine and spirits merchant, recently found and resurfaced a letter of apology for lost wine cargo it received from the Titanic's parent company, White Star Line, the day after the ship's sinking (the day after!), and posted the missive on its Instagram page.

"Dear Sirs," the letter reads. "Referring to your shipment by this steamer it is with great regret that we have to inform you that the 'Titanic' foundered at 2:20 a.m. 15th instant, after colliding with an iceberg, and is a total loss."

A copy of the letter has been displayed in Berry Bros. & Rudd's flagship shop in London ever since the original was rediscovered 20 years ago, when a retiring employee found it while cleaning out his desk, according to Edward Rudd, third-generation family member and the company’s financial planning director. The original, usually stashed away in a safe, was given its 15 minutes of Instafame thanks to some archival work.

“One of the many wonderful things about being part of a 320-year-old business is the bountiful archives, detailing the heritage and history of Berry Bros. & Rudd," Rudd told Unfiltered. Let's hope there are some happier memories to toast in those archives as well.


Enjoy Unfiltered? The best of Unfiltered's round-up of drinks in pop culture can now be delivered straight to your inbox every other week! Sign up now to receive the Unfiltered e-mail newsletter, featuring the latest scoop on how wine intersects with film, TV, music, sports, politics and more.

Would you like to comment? Want to join or start a discussion?

Become a WineSpectator.com member and you can!
To protect the quality of our conversations, only members may submit comments. Member benefits include access to more than 315,000 reviews in our Wine Ratings Search; a first look at ratings in our Insider, Advance and Tasting Highlights; Value Wines; the Personal Wine List/My Cellar tool, hundreds of wine-friendly recipes and more.

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 340,000+ ratings.