Paso Wine Ballers
March 26, 2019
March isn’t the only time these Paso Wine leaders are hitting the basketball courts. See what wine and shooting hoops have in common for these industry all-stars.
When did you start playing basketball? From a very young age, my friend and I played every day, he was Michael Jordan and I was Scottie Pippen (My favorite player).
Did you ever play competitively? I played throughout high school and coached at the high school level for about 8 years.
Where and how often do you play? I play almost weekly with a group of guys at 6am every Thursday morning. I also still play some where I went to high school and coached (Mission Prep in San Luis Obispo) and some pick-up games at Eric Jensen’s gym (Booker Winery).
What does the wine industry and basketball have in common? When I look at basketball from a coaching aspect, I see the game as being able to blend a group of 5 guys to make a successful team and rotating in and out different players to make that blend different for each situation. Which is similar wines being made, grapes being grown in different regions/areas and pairing different wines with different meals or events. The blend may always change but can showcase the best of each blend/team to be successful for each different event/situation.
Do you have a wine reward after a great game? Sometimes, but my dad taught me it takes a lot of good beer to make a good wine, so I probably usually reach for a cold one first.
It’s March – how involved do you get in watching the games, brackets and such? Who’s your pick? My dad got me really into March Madness, we would make brackets and watch games. I am a part of a few pools, one is done through the Ciatti Company. There are more than 50 people in that one and all have some relation to the wine industry. Another one is with the group of us that plays at Eric Jensen’s gym which is always fun since we see each other regularly especially this time of year playing basketball.
If you could share a bottle, or two, with a basketball player who would it be and what would you drink? I would share a bottle with Scottie Pippen since he was my favorite player growing up. The bottle I would share would probably be a bottle of Mourvèdre my dad made from our family’s vineyard since he always pushed me to be better in my passion for basketball. As for a second bottle it would come from Paso Robles from one of the many winemakers that I play basketball with. I might even have to get the best bottle from each of them to show just how diverse the Paso Robles area is.
When did you start playing basketball? Started playing more seriously in 8th grade, but I was terrible.
Did you ever play competitively? Started playing my freshman year but was last guy to make the team, but at least there was nowhere to go but up!
Where and how often do you play? We try to play in pick-up games at the Booker gym weekly but doesn’t always work. I shoot around a couple times a week.
What does winemaking and basketball have in common? Winemaking and basketball have very little in common, which explains why most winemakers are awful. I guess like any job they both share the concept that the harder and more you put in the better you get, but unfortunately that doesn’t mean you’ll ever be good at either!
It’s March – how involved do you get in watching the games, brackets and such? During the tourney Scott Hawley of Torrin and I are very involved with organizing brackets and watching the games together.
If you could share a bottle, or two, with a basketball player who would it be and what would you drink? It would definitely be Lebron, Chris Paul, D Wade, or Melo since they’re all avid wine drinkers. The wine would be a Grenache and Syrah since they all need to expand their palettes. I’m positive it would transform all four and open their eyes!
When did you start playing basketball? When I was 4. My neighbors wouldn’t let me go home until I made a certain number of baskets even though my mom was yelling “Beaver – get home NOW for dinner!”
Did you ever play competitively? Since I was 4! I have been in a league every year since then. At 62 I am now the ‘old’ guy out there. I did play in high school at Buena High in Ventura. I played in the Danish under 18 national championship (we were smoked because we partied too hard after the semifinal win!) I also played club in Italy after high school. Today I am in an over 40 league – when our team started, we were called ‘just turned 40’, 20 years later we are simply Castoro!
Where and how often do you play? We started playing Thursday mornings at the Templeton High gym when my son Luke was 13 to toughen up the middle school team. We never stopped! I am lucky as a I am still playing with my boys. There are quite a number of wine guys out there except during harvest!
What does winemaking and basketball have in common? Good question – never thought about it. Height doesn’t matter! I like it as it gets my mind off the winery, just like winemaking, when you are doing it you can’t let your mind wander…either you get hit upside the head with a pass or you get a run-away fermentation!
Do you have a wine reward after a great game? Nope! We have been carpooling from Tent City brewery since they opened. I always say, the team with the best snack wins!
It’s March – how involved do you get in watching the games, brackets and such? Who’s your pick? I love watching as many games as possible. Luckily, Bimmer is a big fan too. We have been to several regionals together throughout the country. Won the pool last year! This year I am going with Duke.
If you could share a bottle, or two, with a basketball player who would it be and what would you drink? I know Le Bron is a big wine drinker but I think I would like to drink wine in Greg Popovich’s cellar. I saw it in a picture and fashioned ours after it, on a smaller scale. He must have some great stories..if he’s in the mood. The wine might help!
When did you start playing basketball? I started playing basketball at about age 12 at the YMCA in Gardena, California. It was small in terms of the number of teams, but we did get some experience playing in a tournament setting. I played high school basketball in Gardena and was All League in my senior year. After high school I went to UCLA where I played basketball and ran track. As a freshman I played with Gail Goodrich who went on to a great pro career including time with the LA Lakers. I injured my neck in my sophomore year and did not play at UCLA again.
Did you ever play competitively? After college I played competitively in adult leagues in the Los Angeles area and generally had games at least three times per week. I stopped playing around 1980 when aches and pains caught up to me. At that point, my mind was much better than my body when it came to playing a round of ball.
What does winemaking and basketball have in common? I see some comparisons with playing basketball and wine making in that both require a certain amount of finesse to do it right. While basketball has become a much more physical game there is still a great deal of finesse involved and the same is true of wine. The finesse involved in making a great wine requires just the right amount of oak, just the right blend of different varietals and the proper time in the barrel.
Do you have a wine reward after a great game? Because I no longer play I drink wine nearly every night and may dedicate a bottle to something basketball related that occurred a long time ago. I think the wine is helpful in convincing myself that I was better than I actually was.
It’s March – how involved do you get in watching the games, brackets and such? I fill out my bracket every year despite the fact that I have not seen many of the teams play over the course of the season. I do watch as many games as possible and use a green marker for the wins on my sheet and orange for the losses. I’m looking good this year with a lot more green than orange. Despite their close call with UCF I like Duke to win.
If you could share a bottle, or two, with a basketball player who would it be and what would you drink? If I had the opportunity to sit down, reminisce, and drink some wine with a couple of old friends who I haven’t seen in years it would probably be Gail Goodrich and Keith Erickson. I think a bottle of Écluse Reserve Cabernet would work well for that occasion. As a backup I’d have a bottle of 2012 Ensemble at the ready.