Smashingly Subtle

July 02, 2007
July 02, 2007

Table of Contents
July 2, 2007

SI Bonus Section: Golf Plus
Where Are They Now?
  • Remaining undefeated under new coach Bob Bradley, the U.S. won the Gold Cup by beating archrival Mexico (yet again) in a match that served as a young midfielder's coming-out party

Track and Field
2007 NASCAR Midseason Report
Where Are They Now: Lost & Found
Life of Reilly

Smashingly Subtle

Once accustomed to crushing ballcarriers, Terry Hoage now crushes grapes for his much-sought-after vintages

TerryHoage's transformation from highly regarded NFL safety to highly regardedvintner began like a bad joke: "A guy walks into a bar. . . ." In 2000the guy, Hoage, moved with his wife, Jennifer, and two children from Phoenix(his 13-year career with six teams had ended with the Cardinals in 1996), toCalifornia, eventually landing in Paso Robles, a burgeoning wine center twohours north of Santa Barbara. Hoage stopped by a local watering hole and hit itoff with a group of thirtysomethings who happened to be oenophiles--"thewine geniuses of Paso Robles," he calls them. Under the guidance of his newfriends, Hoage bought a 26-acre plot, where one of the geniuses, Justin Smith,helped him plant vines and provided him with the facilities and equipment tomake his wine. Within a few years Hoage had his own 3,000-square-foot winery;his first vintage, in 2005, produced 100 barrels.

This is an article from the July 2, 2007 issue Original Layout

Hoage doeseverything from marketing his product and leading tours (with Jennifer's help)to fixing the tractor. He produces roughly 2,000 cases a year of wines thatbear sly names like The Hedge Syrah, referring both to a pruning technique andto a fabled feature of the stadium at Georgia, where Hoage was an All-Americaboth on the field and in the classroom. (He graduated with a degree in geneticsand a 3.8 GPA.) Far from being an aspiring Mondavi, Hoage has capped hisproduction and says he's happy to remain a boutique winemaker. For him thebusiness is less a moneymaking venture than a means to challenge himself."I tend to get bored pretty easily," he says. "But here I get to bea scientist, an engineer, a marketer--I even taught myself to weld. I can bekilling gophers in the afternoon and leading a wine tasting at night!"

Hoage markets, leads tours and even repairs the tractor.