Meet The N F L Wine Guy: Retired Db Will Blackmon Building Concierge Business Off His Love For Wine

Posted: Dec 06, 2019

SANTA ANA, Calif. — The six-bottle wine rack ranked among the most treasured items in the kitchen of the Boston College dorm room.

It belonged to defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka, but represented roommate Will Blackmon’s introduction to the fruit of the vine.

The defensive back enjoyed everything about wine: the taste, the aroma, how it helped the two unwind after long days. The variety fascinated Blackmon.

The education didn’t begin for a few years later, however. Not until 2006, when he arrived in Green Bay and All-Pro Charles Woodson took him under his wing.

Every week Woodson would take fellow defensive backs out to dinner. Sometimes it was a group, sometimes just Blackmon. They’d talk football, life and wine.

Woodson, who owns a winery in Napa Valley, began sharing his knowledge with Blackmon. And so birthed an unquenchable thirst that has taken the now-retired pro from casual fan to certified sommelier and budding businessman.

He’s the self-dubbed “NFL Wine Guy,” currently in the construction stages of a personal concierge business that serves professional athletes while also interacting and educating football and wine enthusiasts.

“I want to create a whole culture … I’m just all about sharing, man. That’s kind of what it is,” Blackmon told USA TODAY Sports during a recent morning at Santa Ana’s Wine Exchange, where he works part-time to expand his knowledge of the wine industry. “That’s how I was playing football as well. I love sharing information, love sharing experiences. This is wine thing is the same thing.”

By Mike Jones
December 6, 2019
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