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49er Icon Signs 1869 Bottles

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Joe Montana signs 1869 bottles PicmonkeyJoe Montana signs a bottle of 1869By Dan Clarke

Nearly 30 years ago Randy Cross called San Francisco 49er fans a “white wine sipping crowd.” The comment from the all-pro guard came after a loss in which he felt the team’s fans exhibited a less than enthusiastic attitude. It was a derisive comment, but maybe not inaccurate.

Fans of many teams might be more likely to be beer drinkers or maybe shot-and-a-beer drinkers. However, 49er fans live close to the nation’s most significant wine regions and have a reputation for relative sophistication. It’s likely that they do drink more white wine than other football fans, though data on such matters is sketchy.

We don’t know anything about the white wine proclivities of Randy Cross’s teammate Joe Montana, but he has owned Napa Valley property and co-ventured a Cabernet Sauvignon label with former Beringer winemaker Ed Sbragia so it’s a fair bet that Joe has some appreciation of red wines.  The Hall-of-Fame quarterback is one of many former 49ers represented by Rob Hemphill of National Sports Distributors, a company which deals In sports memorabilia and arranges public appearances for sports celebrities.

Recently Montana signed 100 bottles of 1869, a very special Zinfandel, but made it clear that he had no part in producing the wine, which is the creation of Scott and Jana Harvey of Scott Harvey Wines. 

Joe Montana Jana and Scott Harvey PicmonkeyJoe joins Jana and Scott Harvey Scott Harvey, a veteran California vintner, also makes wine from the Napa Valley, but his 1869 bottling comes from the Shenandoah Valley of Amador County. The 1869 reference is to a vineyard which is documented to have existed in that year. Vineyards are typically replanted after about 30 years, but nearly all the vines in this Amador County vineyard are the originals. 1869 was the year Ulysses S. Grant became President. It was seven years before they started playing baseball in the National League and seven years before George Custer took his 7th Cavalry troops to the Little Big Horn. The vines are tired. They don’t produce a lot of grapes anymore, but the quality of their fruit is exceptional.

The 1869 vineyard is a viticultural treasure. Thus far Scott Harvey has been able to produce an 1869 Zinfandel each year from these every-aging vines. Those bottles signed by Joe Montana also have a special artist-designed pewter label showing number 16 indicating another touchdown. Of course, they’re more expensive than the standard bottling, but they make a nice gift or presentation for the San Francisco 49er devotee. Also, a portion of the proceeds from sale of the signed bottles goes to support the victims of recent Middletown-area forest fires.

Editor’s note:  More information about 1869 and other Scott Harvey wines can be found at www.scottharveywines.com. To learn more about appearances by Joe Montana and other football legends you can visit www.nsdsports.com.