Napa's Vineyard 36 christening NHL's Stanley Cup with wine since 2014

Another NHL season has come and gone, and the St. Louis Blues are bringing home Lord Stanley’s Cup for the first time.

Although our teams didn’t make it to the finals this year – they sure did come close! Both the Carolina Hurricanes and San Jose Sharks shuttered in their respected regional finals. But maybe next year we can hope for the Sharknado!

But there is one thing that seems to happen every year since 2014, and that’s having California’s Vineyard 36’s wine flowing from the royalty of the cups silver chalice. Vineyard 36 is the brainchild of owners Jason Earnest as well as former Carolina Hurricane players Cam Ward and Tim Gleason.

Related Story: NHL Players draw success with Vineyard 36

We got to know the owners and its wines from visits to one of our local wine shops, Taylor’s in north Raleigh. There we tried many of the wines, chatted with the owners and have bottles signed. Last May, while gallivanting through Napa, we were able to visit Vineyard 36’s production facility and sample rare wines such as its out of stock Rosé and the amazing Cabernet Sauvignon, The Black Aces. A shout out to Scott Barber of Green Pin Wines for showing us around.

The one story that we love hearing is how hockey players love wine, and are gracious to support former players by having the wine produced by Vineyard 36 poured into one of the most prestigious awards in the world. How many other wineries can add that to their repertoire?

Since 2014, here’s a list of some NHL players who have drank Vineyard 36 from the Stanley Cup:

  • 2014: Alec Martinez, Los Angeles Kings

  • 2015: Brent Seabrook, Chicago Blackhawks

  • 2016: Eric Fehr, Pittsburgh Penguins

  • 2017: Ron Hainsey, Pittsburgh Penguins

  • 2018: John Carlson, Washington Capitals

We’re currently awaiting to hear which member of the St. Louis Blues will continue this tradition. Our money is on Blues center Robby Fabbri, who was slamming a $1,200 bottle of Pappy Van Winkle on the ice after the game 7 win. So, we know he has taste in good liquid!

As far as Vineyard 36’s latest release, the 2017 Five Bands, this wine is a representation of the pinnacle of excellence in winemaker and its bottle design is paying tribute to the Stanley Cup. “In 1958, the modern one-piece Cup was designed with a five-band barrel which could contain 13 winning teams per band. The oldest band is removed when the bottom band is full and preserved in the Hockey Hall of Fame in order to prevent the Stanley Cup from growing, and a new blank band added to the bottom,” says Earnest.