Two Braves offer wine for the masses

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Some days reporters get a taste of the charmed life. And today was one of them.

High up in the 755 Club at Turner Field, reporters from several media outlets milled about bottles of wine to sip a taste and hear two Atlanta Braves All-Stars explain how, despite not caring much for wine, they now have their charcoal-drawn likeness on bottles with names including Chipper Chardonnay and McCann Merlot.

No doubt, this has the making of some clubhouse humor. And it’s not like the reporters – including me – were working all that hard. In fact, we laughed right along with Chipper Jones and Brian McCann when a Fox Sports Net reporter asked if they’ve even tasted their own brand. It’s a legitimate question, with Jones known more for his Texas ranch and McCann for his fast-food lifestyle than for swilling wine.

“They’ve got some pretty good names,” Jones jokes when asked if he picked the name of his wine. “I know absolutely nothing about wine. But this is very palatable. I am not a big wine drinker.”

McCann’s answers were similar.

“I think I was stuck with mine from the start,” McCann says about McCann Merlot. “I like it. I’ve had a sample. It’s good. I’m not a big wine drinker.”

The wines, which also include Cabernet Glavingnon, are from the Longball Vineyards brand of Charity Wines, which pairs more than 30 professional athletes with their own wine to raise money for a charity of their choice. For every $13 bottle, $1.25 goes to Cure Childhood Cancer (Glavine), Miracle League (Jones) and Rally Foundation (McCann).

Charity Wines says it’s raised nearly $1 million since the effort started in 2007. The wine for the three Braves players goes on sale today.

Despite their lack of wine smarts, Jones and McCann did strike a serious note when they discussed lending their name and image to the effort. “This is more about trying to help some kids,” the third baseman says.

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