Public figures appear in the wine business ever once in awhile, adding their name or cache to a wine or winery, but seldom do they become an active partner.
We’ve mentioned some NFL quarterbacks who are involved in the wine industry. That their physical involvement may be more marketing than operational, still, they are engaged in the working of the business. In the world of Hollywood, it isn’t unusual to see celebrities involved in some capacity with vineyards.
The racing world includes some big names in NASCAR like Jeff Gordon who was born in Vallejo, which is just a stones throw from Napa. Car owner Richard Childress has a successful wine making operation in North Carolina. Then there is Scott Pruett.
Pruett may not be a household name with the general public but those in motorsports know him as a well respected multiple-time champion in the sports car ranks that may not have any parallel. His talents and accomplishments are too many to name but let’s just leave it with the fact the hard working driver has 10 national titles in three different forms of professional sports car racing. And he’s passionately working on an 11th title this season at the age of 54. Remarkable by any sporting standard.
However, the Roseville, California, native has taken up the business of being a vintner. More like it, he’s taken to his Sierra Foothill vineyard with the velocity of a racecar – and he’s now reaping the benefits of his driven passion of making wine. When Scott isn’t screaming around the track, he’s instead, out about among his Pruett Vineyard grapes which overlooks the American River in Auburn, California – just 20 minutes northeast from where he grew up.
When Pruett wasn’t racing, he was studying the world of viticulture and produced his first public release a few years ago. Auburn – in Placer County – is known for Syrah and Italian varietals. Scott and his wife Judy have a 50 acre property with three acres of vines which helped create a world-class red blend (75% Syrah & 25% Cabernet Sauvignon) that earned a 93 from Wine Spectator. They’ve received more high marks of 93 from the respected magazine since.
It may be an odd and contradictory pairing what with someone who goes fast for a living, being heavily involved in the deliberate world of viticulture. Yet, make no mistake, Scott is indeed involved in every aspect of the wine making. His thirst for knowledge in the viticulture industry continues and with farming in the family blood, Pruett has proved that his passion for being the best in racing is naturally transferring over as a vintner.
By the way, not be outdone by strange couplings, the Pruetts also have written successful children books. As a matter of fact, if you go to Amazon, under Scott Pruett’s name, you’ll find children’s books before you see anything about his racing exploits. Yes, Scott’s drive to succeed touches everything he does. Even his ’50 Buick Woody hot rod called ‘Low Tide’ is a show-stopping beauty (see pic at above right).
Scott Pruett’s hard work and talents to make high quality wine shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows his driving passion. As a farmer, he’s found something that feels as natural as grabbing a wheel and turning left and right. A passionate learner who has taken to viticulture with a zeal only a championship driver could present, Pruett appears to be using his hard working habits to create a top flight wine.
A hard working talented champion in the fast-paced world of racing, is proving to be just as hard working and talented in a much more slower-paced world of the wine business. Watch for Pruett Vineyards … if you can keep up.
Daryle W. Hier