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On Baseball & Bubbly: Mumm Napa & San Francisco Giants Co-Brand Wine

Monday was a big day at AT&T Park. San Francisco Giants fans reminisced about Willie Mays on his 82nd birthday. That morning, the team had also popped corks in honor of a new venture with Mumm Napa, the Mumm Napa Giants Brut Prestige Sparkling Wine.

mumm napa giants brut prestige
Photo: Fred Swan

The Giants’ World Series victory last year led to the traditional clubhouse celebration. With lockers blanketed in plastic, goggle-wearing players sprayed each other—and every onlooker—with sparkling wine. The new champions drank straight from bottles and held them high. Mumm Napa Brut Prestige rolled down jerseys, dripped from lips and frothed... everywhere. The excitement of that day led to Monday’s announcement of a co-branded Brut Prestige. It’s the first co-branding deal for sparkling wine with an MLB team.

giants clubhouse michael macor
The Giants Celebrate their 2012 World Series Victory with Mumm Napa Brut Prestige
Photo: Michael Macor/SF Chronicle

Now Giants fans can celebrate the team’s victories, or drown their sorrows after the occasional losses, with Napa Valley sparkling wine that sports the Giants trademark orange and black. In honor of the new venture, Mumm Napa presented Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy with a magnum of the wine, his name and number etched into the glass. Each player also received a custom bottle.

Bruce Bochy
Giants' manager Bruce Bochy with a magnum of Mumm Napa Giants Brut Prestige on May 6, 2013.
Photo: Fred Swan

”The wine is fruit-forward,” says Tami Lotz assistant winemaker at Mumm Napa. “The goal is to show what we can do with Napa fruit,” she adds with Valley pride. The blend is roughly 50-50 between red and white grapes, mostly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. There’s also some Pinot Gris and Pinot Meunier. It spent on 18 months on the lees.

The Mumm Napa Giants Brut Prestige ($27) nose brims with creamy apple and pear, baking spice, toast and a twist of lemon. On the palate, medium body and softly frothy mousse carry crisp green apple, lemon, a slice of strawberry, baking spice and brioche. The citrusy finish is lengthy and refreshing. Recommended+

Baseball season and the growing season for Napa Valley wine grapes have similar schedules. Both start with lonely off-season work in Winter. Final preparation is done during Spring Training which is followed by opening day/bud break at the beginning of April. Early on, both seasons are full of possibility. Stats grow rapidly but can quickly fall back with one bad day. So too the vines.

By mid-year, things are in full swing and it’s hard to see change on a daily basis. It’s a period of very gradual maturation under bright sun, fine tuning and strategic maneuvers to position for later success. It’s also a time of anticipation for the critical days to come in August and September. Both seasons will come to a close during a tense few weeks. Will the weather hold, can we gain that last bit of ripeness? Will our lead hold or, if we’re running behind, can we pass the front-runner with a final burst of energy?

2013 looks like to be another good year for the Giants. They’ve been in or around division lead since the season’s first pitch. Panda, Pence and Posey are ripping the cover off the ball. Zito continues to look like he’s found his mojo. A recent sweep of the hated Dodgers provided many feel-good moments for fans of the orange and black.

Mumm Napa’s season is also off to a great start. “The [lack of] rainfall isn’t a problem yet,” head winemaker Ludovic Dervin tells me. “We didn’t have to use any water for frost protection so, even if water was scarce in winter, we’ve kept it all for irrigation. The vines are looking very healthy. We have very good cluster counts, the number of clusters per shoot, the size of the cluster is really good. Right now it’s a season that’s on track for quality and quantity.” But, like all good managers who want to manage expectations and keep the players on their toes he adds, “It’s a long season, anything can happen.”

One thing is certain. If the Giants pull off another World Series win, there be will thousands of fans celebrating along with the Giants and drinking Mumm Napa Giants Brut Prestige. I might just join them.

Winemaker Ludovic Dervin introduces Mumm Napa Giants Brut Prestige at AT&T Park, May 6, 2013.
Photo: Fred Swan


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