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Touchdown! Paso’s Football Players

September 6, 2017

Cab 83! Cab 83! Hut-Hut! Football is BACK! To celebrate the return of football, we take a look at the lives of former NFL and collegiate football players who hung up their helmets and settled down in Paso Wine Country.

Gary Eberle, Eberle Winery and Terry Hoage, TH Estate Wines, talk football, wine and everything else in between.

Gary Eberle, Eberle Winery

gary eberle footballgary eberleWhere did you play football? Penn State University 1962-1966 with a brief (18 days) stint with the Detroit Lions.

What was your greatest achievement on the field? I have two:  sacking Roger Stabach (future Dallas Cowboy QB) and the other tackling Mel Renfo for a loss in Oregon.

Is there a coach’s lesson/motto that you continue to apply in the vineyard/winery? Coach Paterno was always pounding on you to “be better.”  Whether it was on the football field or in the classroom, the goal was to be better.  That’s what we do here at Eberle Winery.  Another “coach”/mentor was Robert Mondavi who always stressed we are not in the wine business, we are in the hospitality business.

Do you have a pre-season program to prepare for harvest? Every year we have a theme for our 1952 Chevy dump truck called “Buck the Truck.”  I let the winemaker come up with a theme and this year he is “Super Mario.”  Past years have been Pirates of the Caribbean, Spongebob Square Pants…you name it.  That truck probably has 40 coats of paint!

What wine do you drink while watching (insert favorite team here)? Penn State or Steelers or LSU in that order. Cabernet when we’re winning.  Zinfandel when we’re losing.  (Zinfandel has more alcohol.)

For visitors to Paso Robles, are there any good places to watch the game? The best place to watch it is on my big screen at my house, but I won’t even invite my best friends over for that.  I like to watch the game.  No chit chatting.

Terry Hoage, TH Estate Wines

paso footballterry hoage bounty hunterWhere did you play football? Huntsville Middle School, Huntsville High School, University of Georgia, New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, San Francisco 49 ers, Houston Oilers, Arizona Cardinals. That’s 23 years of football! No wonder I’m tired.

What was your greatest achievement on the field?  I was fortunate to play on teams at each level that rose to the pinnacle of success.  UGA – national championship, Washington Redskins – Super Bowl Championship and HHS (basketball two state championships)

How does that compare to your greatest achievement in the wine industry? I think my greatest wine industry achievement is still ahead of me. Jennifer and I have created a business that not only has achieved many wonderful accolades but more importantly, supports the livelihood of 7 enthusiastic employees. And while it is not exactly the wine industry,  a big achievement was participating with others in the wine industry in the formation of a charitable platform that encourages commitment to our community –  MUST Charities

What led you from the football field to the vineyard? We moved to the Central Coast initially to raise our family.  We discovered the wine industry soon after. I have a background in science (B.S. Genetics) and farming, and Jennifer has a background in food and flavors.  Together we make a pretty good team.

Is there a coach’s lesson/motto that you continue to apply in the vineyard/winery? “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity”, “TEAM/me” or “There is no I in Team”

The football season and harvest happen to coincide. Are there any other similarities? NO, but my body feels a lot better at the end of the day picking grapes.