The wine world is awash with vanity brands that carry the names of famous athletes and actors, most of them mere endorsements with no real involvement on the part of the celebrity on the label. Emmy-winning sportscaster Jim Nantz, who calls everything from NFL football to Masters golf for CBS (with three Winter Olympics along the way), didn’t want that dilettante reputation, so he spent more than a decade personally researching every aspect of the wine business, from how to make it to how to sell it. He was looking for a partner in his proposed wine enterprise when one evening an unexpected (and uninvited) visitor dropped by his dinner table in suburban Connecticut. The man who interrupted Nantz’s dinner was the equally prominent Peter Deutsch of W.J. Deutsch & Sons, the wine importer who taught Americans to love Yellow Tail.
I caught up with Nantz and Deutsch last week in Foxborough, Mass., before the Patriots-Broncos game, to get the lowdown on how Jim met Peter and how their new wine venture — The Calling — was coming along.