Photo: Wayne Gretzky winemaker Stephanie Stanley
One of the more savvy moves by Andrew Peller Ltd. was its 10-year licensing agreement in November, 2011, with Wayne Gretzky Wines Estates.
Under that agreement, Peller gets to make and sell wines under the Gretzky brand. It would be hard to find wines with better name recognition.
After retiring from his lengthy NHL career as a player and then as a coach, Gretzky ventured into other businesses, including wine. When he agreed to fold his
winery into the Peller stable, he allied his celebrity to a company with
powerful technical and marketing skills. At the time of the deal, Peller
assumed $2.7 million of Gretzky’s Ontario
Peller wasted no time in launching a parallel Okanagan brand. Peller has a good grape supply in the Okanagan and winemaking capacity in the big Calona winery in
And crucially, Stephanie Stanley, who was already making the Peller wines in
also began making the Gretzky wines in 2011. Indeed, one of her first Gretzky
wines won a Lieutenant Governor’s Award of Excellence in 2014.
By every indication, the brand has been a solid success in
British Columbia, and very likely in the other provinces
in Western Canada where the hockey great has a
Currently, six Wayne Gretzky Okanagan wines, all VQA, are available in
liquor stores – often widely available. For example, almost 2,000 bottles of the
2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Syrah are spread among 131 stores. During the recent
holiday period, this wine and two others were discounted temporarily by $2 a
bottle, presumably to clear out some older vintages.
These wines, which over-deliver, really don’t need to be discounted.
Here are notes on three of those wines.
Wayne Gretzky Okanagan Cabernet Sauvignon Syrah 2013 ($17.99). The wine begins with classic minty Cabernet aromas. On the palate, there are luscious flavours of black currant, black cherry, cocoa and coffee. There is pepper on the finish of this appealing blend. 90.