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 Filed as : Featured WinemakersWinemakers

Great at Hockey, Great at Fine Wine

Jan 20, 2012
Great at Hockey, Great at Fine Wine
Bure Family Wines are a serious second act

bure_01You might remember Candace Cameron Bure for the laughs she generated on “Full House" as eldest daughter DJ Tanner. And when you think of her husband Valeri Bure, you probably think all-star athlete. Well, the hockey legend and his wife should now make you think of wine…really fine California wine.

For Bure Family Wines, the husband-and-wife superstar duo have teamed up with French winemaker Luc Morlet to produce three well-received 2009 Napa Valley wines: Duration (a cabernet sauvignon from Oakville priced at $175 a bottle); Thirteen (a cabernet from St. Helena, $135 per bottle); and Majesty ($95 per bottle).

Bottlenotes asked them about the challenges of winemaking, hockey and comedy.

Why did you get into the wine business?
Val: I always had a passion for wines and was intrigued about how long the process took and the nuances of producing world quality wine. After I retired from hockey, I had the opportunity to start my own label. After spending time in Napa Valley, I knew it was the place I wanted to make my wines.

Candace: I knew Val would one day transition into the food and wine business after hockey, and I love being his supportive wife.

What’s the most unique aspect of the Bure wines?
Val: I personally spend a lot of time in the vineyards and at the winery as it's my passion to one day create a perfect 100 point wine. I'm not an athlete who has put his name on a label hoping to drive sales, but truly seek to produce wines that many will enjoy as much as I do.

What’s more difficult – wine or comedy?
Candace: Wine! At least with comedy, I can practice, work at it, watch, interpret and keep trying at no cost. With wine, there are so many elements that are out of your control, like the climate, the weather, the soil, and nature in general. You have to be on top of the game to produce an amazing product.

What’s more difficult – wine or hockey?
Val: Hockey was difficult because it takes a big toll on your body and also takes you away from your family. Wine can be as difficult as hockey because it takes a lot of hours in preparation and working behind the scenes before you put the final product on the table. But I enjoy making wine more!

Have either of you been able to draw on your previous career experience and use it in the wine business?
Candace: I just act like I know a lot about wine, swirl my glass around and repeat from memory what I've heard my husband say about it.

Val: I learned the value of hard work and dedication. No matter what you do in life, you have to be passionate and love it. With great effort, you can be successful at almost anything. I hope that the things I've learned in hockey and the past 30 years of my life will translate into my winemaking efforts.

Describe what you enjoy most about the wine business?
Val: It starts in the vineyards working with God's creation. Every year is so different that it makes it interesting but difficult at the same time. Also, opening a bottle of wine with either critics or friends and being able to share my passion with them is exciting.

Candace: I love that wine can bring people together and become an experience. We've had many fantastic meals and conversations with old and new friends all stemming from a good bottle of wine.

What’s behind the names of your wines?
Candace: There is a lot behind our label and logo. Val's great, great grandfather, Pavel Bure, was the personal watchmaker for the Russian Czars. On the back of each watch, the Russian State emblem of a double-headed eagle holding a scepter and orb was engraved. Staying in line with Bure Family tradition, we modified that logo to include a pocket-watch and a hockey stick, two things the Bure Family is most recognized for.

Majesty means “holds the honor of the Royal Court”--referencing Val's heritage.
Thirteen stands for our daughter who turned 13 this year, and the number of barrels bottled this vintage and Val's birthdate. (Ok, this was just fun.).
Duration signifies the measure of continuance of any object or event within time. A throwback to his great great grandfather's craftsmanship as well as that of our wines.
We also make a wine called Nuit Blanche, white nights (like those in Russia), and a wine called Malena which is comprised of the first two letters of our children's names: Maks, Lev, and Natasha.

All in all, our labels will always reference our family in one way or another.

Anything new we should expect from Bure Family Wines in the future?
Yes! With the 2011 vintage, we will introduce a chardonnay from one of the most famous vineyards of Sonoma, Ritchie Vineyard, and in 2012, a Beckstoffer ToKalon cabernet sauvignon.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Bure Family is known for producing high quality and small quantity wines. We made fewer than 13 barrels of each of our bottlings. We ferment with natural yeasts, and the wine is then aged in new French oak barrels for 19 months.


Have you tried Bure Family Wines? Tell us below.




Tags: Napa Valley, Interview, Bure Family Wines

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