Dick Vermeil

Dick Vermeil is a football legend, with a storied high school and college career (including a Rose Bowl win with UCLA over an undefeated and number-one-ranked Ohio State in 1976) before coaching in the NFL for the Philadelphia Eagles (1976–1982), St. Louis Rams (1997–1999) and Kansas City Chiefs (2001–2005). He took the Eagles to the Super Bowl in 1980, and led the Rams to their only world championship, with a thrilling Super Bowl win over the Tennessee Titans that was decided on the game’s final play. Every NFL team Vermeil coached had a losing record the year before he arrived, and each made the playoffs by Vermeil’s third season. He owns the distinction of being named "Coach of the Year" at every level: High School, Junior College, NCAA Division I and Professional Football.

Born in Calistoga, the northernmost town in the Napa Valley, Vermeil had two loves — football, and wine. His mother Alice, whose home was always open to those who loved good food, instilled a passion for family and friends in all four of her children.  Louis, Dick’s father and owner-operator of The Owl Garage next to their home, instilled in Dick his passion for hard work, integrity, football and a love of good wine.

In 1999, Vermeil took up winemaking as a hobby at home, using the grapes grown on the vinyard his great-grandfather once owned (it had since passed on to the Frediani family). After he retired from coaching in 2008, Vermeil decided to turn his hobby into Vermeil Wines. Teaming with winemaker Paul Smith and the Frediani family, Vermeil manages a high-end, small-production wine label in the heart of the Napa Valley, with many wines earning 90+ scores and medals in local competitions.

"While my football days are now fond memories, my best wine days lie ahead," Vermeil said. "The game is different, but the commitment to excellence is the same.". 

The Cabernet Sauvignon is dedicated to my two great-grandfathers, Jean Louis Vermeil, who brought the family name to San Francisco, and Garibaldi Iaccheri, the person responsible for introducing the Vermeils to Calistoga and the Napa Valley. I also want to express my appreciation to my father, Jean Louis Vermeil II, and my grandfather, Albert Vermeil, for instilling in me a deep appreciation for wine. Grandfather Al Vermeil made all the Vermeil Family wines with grapes from the very same properties that produce the Vermeil wine of today. Thank you for sharing your passion with me.

Philly Pours is September 22 at The Fretz Showroom in the Philadelphia Navy Yard, 4050 S. 26th Street, Philadelphia PA, 19112. Please bring ID. Doors open 6 PM

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