Former England cricket star Sir Ian Botham OBE has launched a new range of Australian wines and said that there will be more to come in the 'near future'.
Botham, nicknamed ‘Beefy’ and once a tormentor of Australian cricketers while playing as an all-rounder with England, announced his new wine range in partnership with Benchmark Drinks at an event at Lord’s in London today (27 July).
Botham’s love of wine is well-known and he has previously credited late cricket commentator John Arlott for igniting his passion for top wines in his younger years.
The new wine range, entirely Australian, includes a Barossa 81 Series Shiraz in memory of the 1981 Ashes series and Botham’s leading role in winning the urn for England.
That wine is part of a mid-range known as ‘The Botham Series’, which also includes a Margaret River ’76 series’ Chardonnay and a Coonawarra ’80 series’ Cabernet.
Those are expected to retail for around £12-a-bottle.
Another three wines will form the ‘Sir Ian Botham Collection’ and are to be sold exclusively in the UK via Berry Bros & Rudd, probably at around £30-a-bottle.
- a Barossa Valley single vineyard Shiraz, produced with Nick Badrice, chief winemaker at Dorrien Estate and Krondorf winery;
- an Adelaide Hills Chardonnay blended by Marty Edwards of The Lane Vineyard;
- a Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon produced with Geof Merrill, who Botham has known since touring Australia with England in 1978. The pair already have a long-standing partnership having previously formed Botham Merrill Willis wines with former England captain Bob Willis.
‘My philosophy going into this was simple,’ said Botham.
‘I knew the style of wine I was looking for, and I wanted to bring exceptional but fairly priced wines to market. We have focused the first phase of our launch on Australian wines and we are looking forward to presenting new origins and products in the near future – watch this space.’
An entry level ‘Botham all-rounder’ range of wines will include a Chardonnay and a Cabernet Sauvignon drawn from different regions within South Eastern Australia. They are expected to retail for around £8.99.
Both the ‘all-rounder’ and the ‘series’ ranges are set to launch in the autumn.
Paul Schaafsma, MD of Benchmark Drinks, said it was a privilege to work with Botham on the project.
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