Jim Nantz is as synonymous with announcing sports as any of the heavy-hitters in broadcasting. However, while the longtime announcer’s influence can be felt everywhere from golf to college basketball, Nantz’s passion project has nothing to do with touchdowns or holes in one. He owns a winery that helps him take his enthusiasm for sports and put it elsewhere.
Jim Nantz’s love of sports
The commentating bug bit Nantz early on as he listened to the men on TV and the radio broadcast some of sports’ most iconic moments. He discussed this with Morten Anderson on his podcast Great Dane Nation. Nantz told the host, “I wanted to be a sports commentator like these famous voices of my youth. I idolized them more than I did the athletes.”
Nantz put in the work to become one of the best announcers in sports. From his iconic call of Tiger Woods’ Masters’ victory, he labeled it “a win for the ages,” to countless football games, college basketball classics, and sports around the world. His ability to set the mood, tell a story and remember even the faintest details are why he’s one of the best ever to call a game.
While Nantz is one of the biggest names in announcing, his true passion may lie with a particular beverage.
Nantz’s love of wine
According to The Calling‘s website, Nantz and Deutsch Family Wine and Spirits CEO Peter Deutsch met by chance while having dinner in Greenwich, Connecticut. Deutsch had just read Nantz’s book about his father, and Nantz already had ideas of starting his winery on the side of his lucrative announcing career.
The two struck it off, and before long, they were checking Sonoma for the perfect spot to build a winery. The two began to grow their brand, hiring an all-star team of wine experts to help make the wine not only useful but unique to the heart of wine country. Over a decade onward, and the winery is a success. Not only does it sit in one of the most beautiful spaces in America, but its wine has received widespread acclaim.
The Calling is still successful over a decade after its inception. The prices are relatively when it comes to high-end wind, with bottles selling for anywhere from $25 to $35 on Wine.com. However, while many celebrities get into the wine game without understanding, Nantz demonstrates a genuine love for everything about the beverage.
Jim Nantz on his wine, The Calling
Nantz spoke about his passion for wine in a 2015 interview with Wine Enthusiast. There, he detailed his extensive collection and how he likes to keep things clean and organized:
“I have a cellar that holds 906 bottles. All the slots are filled, so I have cases on the floor, but it’s very organized. I like to organize things. My wine cellar is like my clothes closet. Everything is coordinated and there’s a reason and a flow to it.”
Nantz doesn’t just use the cellar to keep the wine stored. He utilizes his cellar almost as an art collector might want to show off his latest masterpiece. The commentator ensured the room has climate control and aimed for an Old World look. “The cellar has an old door on it with wrought iron and a stained glass effect,” Nantz explains. “You can peek through the door; the ironwork includes a keyhole, the symbol of The Calling.”
However, wine isn’t about the cellar or number of bottles. It’s about bringing things together, from people to meals, and giving them a slice of the greater life. Nantz explained:
“Wine is such a pleasure in life. I look at dinner like a beautiful piece of art on a canvas. It’s beautiful, but you have to put a frame around it, and then it pops. I look at wine like that. It frames a meal; it frames an experience and can be wonderful. But without the right frame, it’s not complete.”
It’s clear that wine is one of Nantz’s greatest passions. 13 years after opening his dream winery, it’s paying off in dividends. It doesn’t just pay the bills, however. While Nantz might have a passion for calling plays on the football field, his passion for wine culture might go even deeper.