The exploitation of wine by sports stars – and vice versa – has taken a new twist with Maradona’s old club becoming the first football team to launch its own wine.

Boca Juniors, the club that nurtured the Argentinian genius, has just launched Boca Premium, an easy-drinking Cabernet Sauvignon retailing at US$4 a bottle.

Argentinian producer Raices de Agrelo makes the wine. It also has a wine called Maradona – which it recently re-issued just as the beleaguered star was hospitalised during a health crisis linked to drug abuse – and another wine named after Colombian football star Carlos Valderrama.

Boca Premium has an annual production of 50,000 bottles with plans to release several more wines at the end of the year to mark the centenary of Boca Juniors. It will be exported to Russia, Latin America and Asia.

‘Boca is a successful brand not only in Argentina but also in other countries. Our soccer team has won many international sports events,’ said Matias Cecileo, manager of the club’s merchandising arm the Boca Crece corporation.

Last year Boca Juniors won two International cups, three national cups and four local tournaments.

Boca aims become a global brand to rival Real Madrid and Manchester United. Boca Crece has a turnover of US$30m, and is one of only five teams in the world to have its own television channel.

Future plans include building a Boca private estate and a cemetery for fans.

Written by Jaquelina Jimena