For 15 years, former NFL quarterbacks Dan Marino and Damon Huard have talked about starting a winery together. Now they’re doing it, and it’s called Passing Time.
Marino, 52, played his Hall of Fame career with the Miami Dolphins. Huard, 40, a successful University of Washington quarterback, later was Marino’s backup in Miami. It was there where Marino introduced Huard to the great wines of his home state – Huard was a rum-and-Coke guy, while Marino had long been a fan of Washington’s most collectible red wines.
Now they are launching Passing Time, which will begin with a single red wine from the 2012 vintage that will be released next year. They are working with Chris Peterson, winemaker at highly touted Avennia in Woodinville.
Take a listen to our interview with Huard and Marino.
The inaugural Passing Time will be primarily Cabernet Sauvignon using grapes from Discovery Vineyard and Champoux Vineyards in the Horse Heaven Hills and Klipsun Vineyard on Red Mountain.
Huard said the ultimate plan is to produce three wines for Passing Time, using grapes from the Horse Heaven Hills, Red Mountain and the Walla Walla Valley.
The pair are not the first former NFL quarterbacks to launch a Washington winery. Drew Bledsoe, a Walla Walla native and Washington State University product who was a teammate with Huard at the New England Patriots, owns Doubleback, a wine he makes with Chris Figgins of Leonetti Cellar fame. Bledsoe owns an estate vineyard in Sevein, a group of vineyards south of Walla Walla near Milton-Freewater, Ore.
Another former quarterback with Washington ties is Rick Mirer, who owns Mirror Wine Co. in Napa County, Calif. Mirer was a standout at the University of Notre Dame before being drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in 1993 as the No. 2 overall pick and finished runner-up in rookie of the year voting.
Huard and Marino know comparisons will arise with Passing Time, Doubleback and Mirror Wine Co., as well as wineries owned by other retired athletes, including Greg Norman, Wayne Gretzky, Mike Ditka, Ernie Els, Joe Montana, Arnold Palmer, Tom Seaver, Dick Vermeil, Mike Weir and Charles Woodson. Marino said that is why the wines need to be unquestionably superb.