Fan Favorite Turns Winemaker

Fan favorite finds second career

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Rich Aurilia is the San Francisco Giants infielder who will sell no wine before it's time.

Pop the corks! It's almost time.

Word comes today from Andrew Baggarly's Extra Baggs blog in the Mercury News that Red Stitch, the line of 2007 Napa Valley cabernet that Aurilia is producing (vint-ning?) with ex-Giant Dave Roberts, is beginning to come to fruition. Aurilia has made 150 cases of the stuff, and it's just been bottled in Napa.

The wine still won't be available for purchase until later this year, so your flask of choice will have to continue to make do with Two-Buck Chuck until then. Once Red Stitch is on the market, it will be available for $60 to $75 a bottle. Baggarly reports in the Merc that two of San Francisco schmansiest establishments, Gary Danko and Boulevard, have ordered cases to add this vintage to their wine lists.

The grapes were grown at Napa's Mi Sueno vineyard, and Aurilia and Roberts sampled several different strains of grapes to create a custom blend. They're hoping Giants fans are thirsty enough that someday they'll have their own vineyard.

"We're starting small," Aurilia told the Fanhouse in an exclusive interview on the topic. "But a lot of these places start small and the next thing you know, they explode and buy a vineyard. We'll concentrate on the first three years and see how it goes and hopefully it takes off from there."

This is a sound plan, Rich Aurilia. There's no way the Bay Area's appetite for wine will decrease over the next three years.

Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who is just now discovering that wine is sold in units other than cardboard boxes.

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