I recently interviewed former NFL Quarterback and winery owner Rick Mirer on his journey from the gridiron to some of the greatest vineyards in Napa Valley! Here’s his take on the gameplan in Napa Valley with Mirror Napa Valley Wines!
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My wife and I moved to Del Mar, CA in 1996 and started trying all different kinds of wines with friends who hosted great dinners. We took a liking to Napa Cabernet quickly, but also loved Pinot Noir, Italian wines and Rhône blends. I started doing research and studying regions one by one. As we traveled, we kept exploring deeper into French Burgundy and Bordeaux, Australian Shiraz, Oregon Pinot Noirs, Washington Cab/Merlot, Syrah. The appreciation for Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay came a little later when we decided to produce them.
I spent four consecutive seasons in the Bay Area late in my career. Two with the San Francisco 49ers and two with the Oakland Raiders (2000-2003 seasons). With Oakland, we had a training camp in Napa, and that was it. I had been to Napa prior, but waking up there weeks in a row felt right. I met several producers in my limited free time and have always felt a connection to the Napa Valley from those years. I didn’t expect to get into the business until I had retired and had more free time than I was comfortable with. We simply started with my personal contacts and have been meeting people and sharing our stories constantly ever since.
A lot, but mostly both are very competitive, and I’m drawn to that. Shortcuts don’t work in either profession. Consistency matters and makes the difference between good and great.
I’m the proprietor, but have learned so much about winemaking along this journey. Kirk Venge is our winemaker, and the smartest thing for me to do is listen when it comes to the technical winemaking decisions. He’s a pros pro, and we have been able to consistently create some amazing wines. I’m really proud of what we have in the bottle. The production is very small, so Mirror is still new to many people, but we’d put our stuff up against anyone.
We just released our 2017 Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon and our 2017 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon is coming in late September. I think our current 2018 Petaluma Gap Chardonnay is outstanding as well.
Thanks for the time Rick!