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Danica Patrick's Journey From Racing Cars to Making Wine

Article by Maria Dinoia

Photography by Will Bucquoy

Originally published in Franklin Lifestyle

Even before Danica Patrick retired from the racing circuit, she was exploring one of her passions: wine. "I went to Napa Valley back in 2006 – it was a trip filled with great food and private wine tasting tours and I’d never done that before. I just had so much admiration and respect for the process of making wine. Then not quite two years later, I purchased a Napa property, 24 acres of grapes. Not a lot of time went by from having my own private tasting to owning my own vineyard. I guess I'm an entrepreneur - I have an idea for something and all of a sudden it becomes real. It was that simple."

Patrick is anything but simple. "I named my vineyard Somnium, which means “dream” in Latin, because I thought owning my own winery was something that would just be a dream, but it became a reality." Vineyard development began with Cabernet Sauvignon in 2011 and continued until 2014 when Danica discovered the glories of Cabernet Franc, also planted on the estate property. In 2020 she hired a new head winemaker and wanted to create a new Rose`, making Provence her next adventure.  

Provence is one of the oldest wine-producing regions in France. Patrick explains, "There are different rules in America versus other countries – things they can add, things they can put on the label. Provence favors more traditional winemaking." She continues, "There are thousands and thousands of varieties of grapes and three-five different grapes in the rose,` a proprietary blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Merlot and Caladac. "I really just enjoy wine and fell in love with the process and what really goes in to making it." 

Is there any part of her that misses racing? Patrick responds, "No. I’m really happy. I’m having so much fun now. After I retired, just the idea of planning a weekend three months out was like 'Wow!'  But I do find myself every now and again giving it a little gas in a road car." 

Patrick has really nourished her entrepreneurial spirit. In addition to her winery, she authored a book, gives inspirational speeches and hosts a podcast. Pretty Intense, a term she says describes her. " I have three big buckets of my life I spend a lot of time on - mind, mentalness and food. Her guests are a diverse group, but reveals "the core is really about how things can help us as human beings evolve, grow and step in to our own power and our own awareness of who we really are. How to write the script for our life."

Surely, Patrick has ways she likes to unwind. "I love to go for a walk. It’s a really great way to unwind. Yoga. Working out. It’s the only thing I do that shuts my brain off from everything else." She continues, "I love to go on trips and get some culture. Spending time with really high quality people who are really in sync with you and how you like to live and having deep conversations. Good friends, good family, good connections – a great way to decompress. And of
course, there’s wine involved!"

And while Patrick doesn't live here, she says Nashville is a great city. It's a fun place. Tennessee has a lot of offer. Nashville is the crown jewel. I love country music. And it’s playing all day at the bars, not just at night!"