NBA

Tony Parker talks wine and life after basketball

Tony Parker talks wine and life after basketball

PARIS — Add Tony Parker to the list of celebrities who own a wine estate in Provence, France.

The retired N.B.A The player held an intimate event in Paris on Thursday night to celebrate the announcement of his acquisition of Château Saint Laurent near Avignon in southern France, an estate that combines 40 hectares of vineyards with a historic castle dating back of the XIV century.

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The businessman, who owns French basketball team ASVEL and has invested in companies such as wellness drink brand Smart Good Things, joins celebrities including brad pitt, Kylie MinogueGeorge Lucas, Ridley Scott and John Malkovich, who produce wines in the region.

Parker is something of a connoisseur and already has a place in the industry, having unveiled a partnership earlier this year with entrepreneur Michel Reybier, with whom he runs the Château La Mascaronne estate in Provence and the brands of Jeeper and Michel Reybier champagne.

“I always knew it was something I wanted to do after I was done playing,” the six-time All-Star told WWD at the cocktail event, held at the luxurious Le Salon des Manufactures Alain Ducasse.

Throughout his 17-year career with the San Antonio Spurs, he saw many of his teammates. N.B.A players acquire a taste for wine and gastronomy. “It is a pleasure to see the evolution of the NBA. When I first arrived in 2001, where it wasn’t very popular, they were drinking more like hard alcohol,” recalled Parker, who is a stickler for fine Bordeaux.

“Now they know a lot about wine. You can see a lot of guys in the NBA investing in wine: Stephen Curry, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, they all have their own wine, you can see LeBron doing stories online, what bottle, what year he drank and all that. of things So for me it was nice to see it, because I grew up with him, always enjoying wine”, he added.

“Every summer I would go to a vineyard and visit these amazing families and how they make wine. When I was playing, once a month I would invite a castle, have a dinner at my house and the next day I would invite them to a Spurs game. So I developed a lot of great relationships with all those people,” Parker continued.

Among the prestigious vineyards it hosted were Château Cheval Blanc, Château Palmer and Château Pétrus, as well as champagne producers such as Dom Pérignon. This led to his introduction to Reybier, whose group owns a chain of prestigious hotels, including La Réserve in Paris, and the Swiss cosmeceutical brand Nescens.

“I felt very lucky because it’s very difficult to invest in a good product, in good vineyards, because either it’s a family that has owned it generation after generation, or the big corporations like LVMH, you know, are buying a lot of things from Provence, or Pernod Ricard. It is difficult to invest in wine, the value is very high. So I was very fortunate to build a great relationship with Mr. Reybier and invest in these properties,” Parker said.

He’s going it alone with Château Saint Laurent, which Parker plans to grow slowly. Only 3,000 bottles will be produced for 2022, its first vintage. They will be distributed via 500 NFTs which will give buyers access to six bottles of the initial wines, which will be released in November 2023, as well as guaranteeing an allocation of six bottles from each future vintage.

Going on sale in December in partnership with Club Dvin, an NFT wine club, the tokens will also entitle owners to attend an annual “Pickup Party” with Parker on the estate, harvest events that they include overnight stays at the castle and other exclusive activities. moments, including virtual tastings with Parker.

“A lot of people consume wine in different ways and NFT is something that is part of our world now, so I thought it would be great to do something different,” he said.

It has incorporated a new technical director, oenologist and manager of the vineyards, which are planted with Grenache, Cinsault, Viognier and Roussanne grapes. Parker plans to produce blended and single varietal wines.

“Right now, I don’t want to hype it too much,” he said. “We have to go to work, we have to achieve a very high quality because, obviously, with my affiliation with Mr. Reybier, I want to make sure that we maintain this high level and high quality of the product. So I’m kind of keeping it under the radar right now, and when it’s really good, we’ll talk more about it.”

Tony Parker talks wine and life after basketball

Chateau Saint-Laurent.

The 21,500-square-foot castle will be open for private parties, weddings and conferences starting June 1. It has 22 rooms, a panoramic terrace and an underground passage that stretches more than six miles to the Palau dels Papes or Palau dels Papes. , in the center of Avignon. Parker plans to make regular appearances.

“I won’t be there every day, obviously, but when we do events like this and an event like this at night, I would love to come and talk to people and talk to our future customers, future supporters of the castle,” He went to say.

It is also on the lookout for additional businesses. “I am investing very focused in three areas: sports, education and art of living. These are the three things I am focused on with my group, and little by little, but surely, we will have different opportunities and we will see how we grow”, he said.

Among its existing projects is the Tony Parker Adequate Academy, which provides education and training to athletes and helps them find work. Earlier this year, Parker helped LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton start a recruitment campaign in France for hundreds of apprenticeships, internships and jobs in different luxury trades.

He did not rule out further collaborations with the luxury conglomerate headed by Bernard Arnault.

“Everything is possible. You know, we have been very close with the IME, the Institut des Métiers d’Excellence, and it has worked very well. I became the ambassador for it and we have a great event of here in two weeks with Mr. Arnault, “he said.

“And right now we’re working very closely with my academy, as part of the educational side that I’m doing, because I’m really excited to give back, and then in the future we’ll see if I can do more. Parker said.

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