French wine company Peuch & Besse today unveiled Wines of Golf Legends, a unique collaboration between some of the world’s most illustrious golfers and a selection of outstanding winemakers. Travel retail is the primary target market.

The collection begins with an initial range of fine wines selected in collaboration with golfing stars Jean Van de Velde (France), José María Olazábal (Spain), Costantino Rocca (Italy), David Frost (South Africa) and Ian Woosnam (Wales).

Wines produced in association with Nancy Lopez and Davis Love from the USA and Michael Campbell from New Zealand will join the line-up in early 2022 with others to follow soon after. The range will eventually stretch to 18 golfers and winemakers, in keeping with the number of holes on a golf course.

(Left to right) Château Fourney Saint-Émilion Grand Cru 2016, Winemaker Hélène Rollet, Golfer Jean Van de Velde; Il Palazzo Chianti Riserva 2016, Winemaker Lorenzo Pitirra, Golfer  Costantino Rocca; Koelenbosch Pinotage 2018, Winemaker Andrew de Vries, Golfer David Frost; Château Pas du Cerf Côtes de Provence 2020, Winemaker Aurore Legrand, Golfer Ian Woosnam; Santalba Rioja Reserva 2015, Winemaker Roberto Ijalba; Golfer José María Olazábal

Peuch & Besse CEO Sylvain Combe (centre) with Château Pas du Cerf winemaker Aurore Legrand and golfing legend Ian Woosnam. The rosé wine from Côtes de Provence is a style particularly favoured by the Welsh ace. Look out for Martin Moodie’s interview with both winemaker and golfer (pictured below), publishing later this month.

The range will be showcased for the first time at the Virtual Travel Retail Expo next week (11-15 October) on the Peuch & Besse stand and then at the TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes from 25 to 28 October. Distribution will be strictly limited to travel retail, certain golf clubs and select restaurants.

The launch is particularly notable for its clever use of technology and engaging storytelling. Each bottle has a QR code on the back label which when scanned leads to a compelling short video featuring the winemaker and golfer together at the winery or in the vineyards.

The front label features the name, signature and national flag of the golfer, while the back label features his or her photo and comments from the winemaker alongside the QR code. A neck collar resembling a golf ball features the five golfers to date on the flip side with their signatures and national flags.

Engaging and educational: Simply scan the QR code on the back of the bottle to meet the winemaker and the golfer (Click to enlarge image)

Peuch & Besse is a family business founded in 1904 and established as an owner-producer in Saint Émilion since 1978. The company entered the travel retail channel in 2005 and has cultivated a reputation as one of the sector’s most innovative wine houses.

“Wines of Golf Legends is simply an amazing project and a collection that will grow over time,” Peuch & Besse Managing Director Sylvain Combe told The Moodie Davitt Report. “It is in limited distribution and naturally reserved for travel retail and the finest golf courses.”

Peuch & Besse Advisor Business Development Rajiv Bhatia said: “The QR code which allows you to watch the video is consistent with what we’ve done with the earlier One Winemaker concept but this just takes it to a different level. When you look at the bottles and the labels, they look really consistent and you even have the capsule on the neck of the bottle saying Wines of Golf Legends.

“It’s done really nicely and when you see the collection on the shelf it highlights something very special. And given that the golfing community are often passionate about wine and travelling, it’s something different for the travel retail operators.

“Because the golfers are also so passionate and enthusiastic about what they’re doing, it means that at different times of the year we can do something with the golfers travelling through an airport. For example, they could be available with a travel retail operator to talk about the wine and sign bottles etc.”

Striking front and back labels and a clever pour-spout collar add to the allure of the winemaking-golfing marriage. Click to enlarge image.

How one legend helped spawn new legends

The Wines of Golf Legends concept was born out of a conversation between Sylvain Combe and French golfer Jean van de Velde – “the embodiment of a very French je-ne-sais-quoi” as Peuch & Bess puts it.

Van de Welde will forever be remembered for his gut-wrenching defeat at the 1999 Open held at Carnoustie when he famously lost a three-shot lead on the final hole, at one point removing his shoes and socks to contemplate playing a shot out of the Barry Burn water hazard.

His subsequent sanguine and humble reaction to sporting disaster has won him countless friends and followers around the world and in 2012 he was named by UNICEF France as an ambassador, only the second French person to be awarded the honour.

Van de Velde is as passionate about wines as he is about golf. He has been inducted into the Saint-Émilion guild The Jurade and often acts as an unofficial ambassador for French wines with his golfing peers.

He and Combe decided to combine their respective expertise and networks and create a range of wines for golf fans. Golf and wine share many values, they decided: patience, precision, elegance and conviviality among them.

As they talked, the project grew bigger, more ambitious and international. From a simple ambassadorial role for Van de Velde for wines from the southwest of France, the concept turned into a range of wines from the world’s best winegrowing regions, all selected by golf legends.

Each golfer chooses a winegrowing region which he or she has a strong connection with. Peuch & Besse directs the choice of suitable partners, all being local family-run companies.