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A Toast to Danica

Racing Phenom Danica Patrick Takes on Her Next Adventure With a Foray Into Wine

When you look back at things that happen in life, it’s always interesting how one thing leads to another. For the Valley’s Danica Patrick, former professional racing driver and now winery owner, her moment happened in a bar in England.

“My passion for wine started when I moved to England to race,” she recalls. “I just remember going to a bar and asking, ‘Can you give me the sweetest white wine you have?’ which is always the start to a wine-lovers journey. Then it became dry white wine. I remember having this really fun experience in Belgium where I was staying with my team at the time, in a deep-in-the-mountain-woods, boutique-type hotel that had this really unique restaurant. There I had an amazing bottle of Chablis with Boar’s Head that really transitioned me to a dry white wine, and after that I was drinking red and now everything is good. I just got interested in wine, loved the process, and loved the connectivity it can provide. It was really just the industry itself that won me over.”

It was a new journey that the retired racecar driver would begin to pursue as passionately as she had racing.

In the time since those fortuitous experiences with wine launched her journey, Patrick launched the Somnium vineyard in Napa, California, as well as recently released a premium, world-class French rosé, produced in Provence, France, named Danica Rosé.

“Somnium came to be when I took a trip to Napa Valley in 2006 and really liked the Valley,” she explains. “Holding a glass of wine at 10 in the morning, looking at the fog falling back down into San Fran, and I thought it would be really cool to have something like this someday. [It] started out as just as a dream, which is why it’s named Somnium, which means dream in Latin.”

As for Danica Rosé, “While Somnium makes a high-end cabernet, it’s not French, and personally I really do love French wine. I of course love Napa cabs and California wine, but man I do love myself some French wine.”

To create her new rosé, she gathered an all-star team, and they all worked together to determine the flavor they wanted, which included identifying which producers to work with in Provence. The unique bottle design was also a collaboration, with the team working to create something unique.

The rosé was created because, “Rosé is so accessible,” she explains. “It suits all occasions and almost everybody loves it. Having Danica Rosé was just a way to take this mindset and idea of connecting people through the wine, through the time you are spending consuming it, to connect and create memories.”

While wine is taking up much of her time these days, she still enjoys participating in the Indy 500 broadcast each year. But as for racing, while she is grateful for it, “I just don’t miss it,” she says.

Still, it taught her lessons that she now takes forward.

“I think what racing taught me is that you have to really want something,” she says. “If you want it to happen, you have to really believe in it so blindly in a way that it can’t do anything but happen for you. And that’s for me what it was, how I started, and how I ended up making it. It was unlikely, but I always trusted and believed it would happen. That taught me how much you need to want and believe in something for it to happen.”

Nowadays, in addition to her new career in wine, Patrick loves to hike and travel, as well as cook and entertain.

“I [also love to] experience new restaurants. Since ending racing, I would say my favorite passion is traveling and seeing new cultures. And of course, drinking wine!”

Here in the Valley, she enjoys spending time in the Scottsdale Quarter/Kierland area, hiking, and going to restaurants.

As for her professional hopes for the future, she says she’s already living them.

“Not only do I have Somnium, but there’s Danica Rosé, as well. I have a podcast that I record regularly that is available to listen to everywhere and has some amazing guests. So, I would say this more spiritual side of me is an everyday passion; sharing that with people and expanding their horizons of what’s out there and how people think. I am very open to anything else happening, so that’s how I operate. In five years I could be addressing a whole new business, but I am just following my passions and opportunities!”

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