Updated: Nov 30, 2022
The San Francisco Giants major league baseball team has joined forces with master sommelier Evan Goldstein to “elevate” its existing wine program and further solidify its connection to the wine industry. Goldstein is just one of 269 master sommeliers worldwide and the first ever to officially join a professional sports organization.
Goldstein is the co-proprietor of the marketing agency Full Circle Wine Solutions and master sommelier and chief wine officer of the wine club Master the World. He is also the author of several books on wine.
According to the Giants’ press release, as master sommelier for the San Francisco Giants Goldstein will, among other things:
· Conduct in-person and virtual wine tasting sessions for Giants consumer groups.
· Facilitate wine pairing concepts for Oracle Park and Giants-specific culinary offerings.
· Assist with the selections of wine featured, introducing fans to a variety of regions and profiles.
· Curate wine-related programs for the Giants community, such as field trips and
· Collaborate with current and former Giants players who are either in the wine
industry or interested in wine.
He received his official Giants credentials on November 3, 2022.
Wine With Our Family recently had the opportunity to chat with Goldstein to learn more about this new collaboration and his experience as the first master sommelier to join a major league sports team.
Wine With Our Family: How did this partnership come about?
Evan Goldstein: There’s more than meets the press release. [My relationship] with the Giants goes back 30 years. The Giants do wine well, with eight wine bars and VIP suites. But there are always ways to add layers of participation. So I said, “why not explore [a partnership]” and they said, “why don’t we”?
WWOF: What kind of changes should we consumers expect?
EG: Even ticket holders in the bleachers should have the opportunity for good wine. We’re failing our fan base if wine is only for VIPs. I want to ensure that where food is available that wine is available.
There will be [wine] programming at the park but you don’t necessarily have to be at a game. Also, Oracle Park has 83 baseball games. On the other days we can host other things, like soccer. I’d like to work around things like that, maybe with Spanish or Mexican wine.
The lion’s share of wine offered now is California wine, but our audience base comes from farther than Napa and Sonoma. I want to make sure that we’re representing our audience base.
WWOF: What are your priorities and goals as master sommelier of the San Francisco Giants?
EG: My vision is a three-year plan. Some events will be in the ballpark, some outside. I need to see what’s working, what’s not, and what opportunities there are.
All eyes are on me. There’s no margin for error. I’m not leaving my day jobs. I’ll work organically and see how it rolls out.
WWOF: I know you’re a lifelong Giants fan. Would you have agreed to work with a different sports team?
EG: I had been approached by the [San Diego] Padres. But my loyalties are to Northern California. I also wouldn’t have had the bandwidth [to work with both teams].
WWOF: Should other ballparks consider adding a sommelier to their roster?
EG: Absolutely! Someone had to do it first. [But] 50 states make wine. Some cases are really obvious, like Detroit, Seattle, and all of Texas. And there’s been an outpouring of outreach from other somms, who are reaching out to their professional sports teams. There’s also interest internationally, such as in Australia.
WWOF: Do you anticipate any challenges?
EG: Yes. Baseball is associated with beer and hot dogs, so there will need to be some conscious effort to let people know that there are choices. Also, [unlike the NBA], there are no significant player wine projects and contemporary players as a bridge to fans. That helps reach out to a younger audience.
WWOF: Why should wine be part of the baseball experience?
EG: At the end of the day [sports] is about entertaining, and wine fits that sphere. Wine makes food taste better and vice versa.
There’s so much support and desire for this to work from fans, the Giants, and wineries. This is so exciting! There’s also a responsibility to do it correctly.
We hope you enjoyed this interview with Evan Goldstein, master sommelier of the San Francisco Giants and the newest member of its team. We look forward to visiting Oracle Park and seeing his efforts in person!
Photo credit to San Francisco Giants/ Suzanna Mitchell
This interview was edited for length and clarity.
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