For Saints Owner, New Wine Is a Labor of Love

Gayle Benson, owner of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints and NBA’s Pelicans, releases first vintage from Twelfth Labour Wine Company

For Saints Owner, New Wine Is a Labor of Love
A few years after the Saints won Super Bowl XLIV, Gayle Benson and her late husband, Tom, started making plans for a wine brand. (Skip Bolen/WireImage)
Nov 24, 2020

What do you do if you already own an NFL team, an NBA franchise and your own brewery? Make some wine to drink at the end of a hard day of work. Gayle Benson, owner of the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans, announced last week the launch of Twelfth Labour Wine Company, a new wine brand featuring a Napa Cabernet Sauvignon and a Sonoma Chardonnay.

The wine project is a collaboration Benson launched with her late husband, Tom Benson, the longtime Saints owner, famous for his second-line dance, “the Benson Boogie,” which he performed on the field after Saints wins. "My husband, Tom, had a great passion for wine and always talked about how much fun it would be to have his own vineyard that made wines just the way he liked them," said Gayle, in a statement.

In 2015, they partnered with Ruston Family Vineyard in St. Helena to create the brand. John Ruston oversees the project, while consulting winemaker Robbie Meyer, who has worked at Peter Michael, Aubert and Lewis Cellars, heads the winemaking. Tom Benson passed away in 2018, but had the chance to taste the first vintage, the 2016, which has now been released.

The name comes from the late Benson's business career, which stretched from selling cars to banking to multiple sports franchises to brewing. (The Bensons bought Dixie Brewing, a historic New Orleans brand, in 2017. They recently renamed it Faubourg Brewing.)

Benson told his wife that wine would be his 12th industry. The label features Hercules subduing Cerberus, the three-headed hound of Hades, which was the famous hero's 12th labor.

Production is small, with the wine only available in New Orleans for now. But Benson hopes the wine brand will grow. In the meantime, we anxiously anticipate tasting notes from Cabernet-loving Saints coach Sean Payton and defensive end Cameron Jordan.


Enjoy Unfiltered? The best of Unfiltered's round-up of drinks in pop culture can now be delivered straight to your inbox every other week! Sign up now to receive the Unfiltered e-mail newsletter, featuring the latest scoop on how wine intersects with film, TV, music, sports, politics and more.

Unfiltered Extra, Extra Football Sports Cabernet Sauvignon Chardonnay California Napa

You Might Also Like

A Year in Space: Bordeaux Wine Splashes Down

A Year in Space: Bordeaux Wine Splashes Down

NASA's first space wine mission has successfully returned to Earth, where 12 bottles of …

Jan 25, 2021
Burgundy Burglars Nab $425,000 in Wine, Lob Bottles at Cops in Mario Kart–Style Getaway

Burgundy Burglars Nab $425,000 in Wine, Lob Bottles at Cops in Mario Kart–Style Getaway

A luxury hotel in France falls victim to thieves …  two days in a row

Jan 20, 2021
World Central Kitchen Activates All-Night Operation After D.C. Capitol Attack

World Central Kitchen Activates All-Night Operation After D.C. Capitol Attack

“I don’t know what else to do right now … so we just started cooking,” chef José Andrés’ …

Jan 12, 2021
After 2,000 Years, Pompeii Wine Bar to ‘Reopen’ this Spring

After 2,000 Years, Pompeii Wine Bar to ‘Reopen’ this Spring

Archaeologists have unearthed a wine and snack bar in the ash-buried Roman city of Pompeii

Jan 11, 2021
Unfiltered Predictions for 2021

Unfiltered Predictions for 2021

Virtual-reality winery tours, vine vaccines, the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers abandon …

Jan 7, 2021
Busted in Bordeaux: Crime Ring Suspected of Stealing $6 Million in Wine and Whisky

Busted in Bordeaux: Crime Ring Suspected of Stealing $6 Million in Wine and Whisky

Plus, an illicit winery discovered in an Alabama sewage treatment facility, and thieves …

Dec 30, 2020