June 2023

How Wine Culture is Using Nike's Playbook to Collaborate with Athletes

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Wine culture is slowly permeating cultural spaces that were previously ignored. Athletes and rappers deserve all the credit.

In 2014, Jay-Z made a significant move by acquiring Armand de Brignac, a luxury Champagne brand known for its distinctive gold bottles. Rebranding it as Ace of Spades, Jay-Z cleverly positioned the champagne as a lifestyle brand that resonated with hip-hop fans and young consumers.

read: From Bubbly Baths to Locker Room Spray Downs: The Wild World of Championship Champagne

This partnership between Jay-Z and Ace of Spades Champagne proved to be immensely successful, leading the way for future collaborations between wine makers, rappers, and now athletes, akin to popular athlete-brand partnerships seen in the world of sports and fashion.

Street Cred - Street Risks = Golden Opportunity

The world of wine and champagne is very selective and exclusive, with Champagne houses and Vineyards not typically wanting to be associated with the same people who's target audience as sneakerheads. These highly refined industries aren't just partnering with anyone, they are selecting symbols of immense wealth, success, intellect, and influence.

read: Sneakerheads aka Investors, Collectors, and Entrepreneurs.

The ideal wine candidates are those who can combine street cred with couth, edginess with success, and respectability with a touch of rebellion. They are the ones who can walk into a wine tasting and hold their own with the experts, but who can also relax and have a good time with their friends. Enter the most profitable partnerships known to mankind, edgy athletes and entertainers with luxury brands.

These candidates are the future of the wine industry and taking brands to new heights . They are the ones who will bring new ideas and new perspectives to the table. They are the ones who will help to make wine more accessible and more enjoyable for everyone.

If a Champagne House wants to partner with you, you've made it.

Jay-Z's association with Ace of Spades Champagne had a profound impact on the brand's trajectory. The partnership resulted in a surge in sales, propelling Ace of Spades to become one of the most sought-after Champagne brands globally. The success of the collaboration caught the attention of the industry, culminating in Jay-Z's recent sale of a 50% stake in Ace of Spades to LVMH, the world's largest luxury goods company, valuing the brand at a remarkable $630 million.

The Power of Celebrity Branding

Jay-Z's involvement with Ace of Spades Champagne exemplifies the significant influence of celebrity branding. His association instantly elevated the brand's status, making it highly desirable among consumers. Jay-Z's marketing efforts further fueled its popularity, contributing to the substantial growth in sales. The partnership stands as a testament to Jay-Z's astute business acumen, complementing his well-known prowess as a rapper and entrepreneur.


In 2018, Canadian rapper Drake partnered with Brent Hocking, the founder of DeLeón Tequila, to create Mod Sélection champagne. The brand was launched in January 2019 with two varieties: Mod Réserve Brut and Mod Rosé. The champagnes are made from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France and are aged for at least 18 months. Mod Sélection is priced at $300 for the Brut and $400 for the Rosé.

The partnership between Drake and Mod Sélection has been successful. The brand has seen significant growth in sales since its launch and is now available in over 20 countries. Drake's involvement has helped to raise awareness of the brand and has made it a popular choice among celebrities and other high-profile individuals.

The Blueprint: Jay-Z's Masterpiece

  1. Increased Brand Awareness: Jay-Z's association with the brand catapulted its visibility and desirability among a wider audience.
  2. Skyrocketing Sales: Ace of Spades Champagne experienced a remarkable surge in sales following Jay-Z's involvement, highlighting the impact of his endorsement.
  3. Enhanced Brand Value: The association with Jay-Z significantly elevated the brand's value, solidifying its position in the luxury Champagne market.
  4. Expanded Opportunities: The partnership opened doors to exciting opportunities, such as collaborations with other brands and participation in high-profile events.

Athletes Who've Capitalized on This Great Investment

Chris Paul, is an equity partner in La Fête Wine Company, a Black-owned wine brand that was founded in 2019 by Donae Burston. Paul joined the company in January 2022 and has been a vocal supporter of the brand ever since. He has said that he is excited to be a part of a company that is "breaking down barriers in the wine industry" and that he is committed to helping La Fête "become the go-to wine brand for people of color."

Carmelo Anthony, VII(N) The Seventh Estate is a wine brand founded by Carmelo Anthony and Asani Swann in 2020. Carmelo Anthony has been a fan of wine for many years and has said that he wanted to create a wine brand that was "accessible and affordable to everyone." He has also said that he wanted to use his platform to promote diversity and inclusion in the wine industry.

CJ McCollum, the Portland Trail Blazers guard, owns his own vineyard in the Willamette Valley in Oregon. In 2021, he purchased a 318-acre property in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA, making him the first NBA player to own vineyard land. McCollum's wine brand, McCollum Heritage 91, produces a variety of Pinot Noir wines from his own grapes.

Dwyane Wade Dwyane Wade's wine brand, Wade Cellars, was founded in 2014. The brand is a partnership between Wade and Jayson Pahlmeyer, a renowned Napa Valley winemaker. Wade Cellars has been praised by wine critics and consumers alike. The brand has won several awards, including the 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition Best Buy Award for its 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon. Wade Cellars is a success story and is sure to continue to grow in popularity in the years to come.

Steph Curry's wife Ayesha Curry, has launched a new wine brand called Domaine Curry. The brand is a collaboration between Ayesha and winemaker Brianne Carter, and it produces a variety of wines, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. Steph Curry is a big fan of his wife's wine brand, and he has been known to pop a bottle of Domaine Curry to celebrate a big win. He has also been featured in several marketing campaigns for the brand, and he has helped to raise awareness of Domaine Curry among his fans.

Athletes are partnering with experienced wine brands to create a perfect combo of experience and influence.

The athletes bring their passion for wine and their large followings to the table, while the experienced winemakers bring their expertise and knowledge. This partnership is beneficial for both parties, as it allows the athletes to create a high-quality product that their fans will love, and it allows the winemakers to reach a wider audience.

As sports and business interests continue to intersect, we can anticipate more athlete-wine maker collaborations, further redefining the landscape of the wine industry and creating new avenues for growth and success.

Issa Hall, Esq

Issa has founded multiple ventures, is an author, and founding partner of Hall & Dixon law firm, with over a decade of experience in tech and law.

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