Scorching tires, deafening engines and a record-breaking, bottle-popping crowd all left their mark in Miami this past weekend at Formula 1’s inaugural Miami Grand Prix. More than 85,000 racing fans packed the Miami International Autodrome at Hard Rock Stadium, including celebrity wine lovers Post Malone, Tony Parker, Kevin Love, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen took the checkered flag, edging Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. Following the trophy presentation by “local winemaker” (and NFL Hall of Famer) Dan Marino, the podium takers celebrated by excitedly spraying 3-liter jeroboams of Ferrari Trento blanc de blancs Italian sparkling wine. They also each signed an (unopened) jeroboam to be auctioned for charity by F1 Authentics. A recent auction featuring several such bottles raised money for Ukraine refugee relief, and bidding ends May 13 for the autographed Miami Grand Prix bottle (current bid: $2,500).
The official toast of Formula 1 auto racing wasn’t reserved for victors alone, of course. More than 2,500 cases of Ferrari brut and brut rosé were on hand for racing fans at venues around the track and at the Paddock Club (no exuberant bottle spraying here, please). Nearly 250,000 people attended the full weekend of events, and the ESPN broadcast averaged 2.6 million viewers, making it the most-watched live F1 race in U.S. history.
But racing tracks were operating at limited capacity last year, when Ferrari Trento CEO Matteo Lunelli inked the deal to partner with Formula 1 and the W Series, F1's women’s league which races on the same tracks and weekends as the Grands Prix.
"We were confident conviviality would come back," Lunelli told Wine Spectator. "We embarked on this project because we believe in the future of Ferrari Trento. We decided to make Miami the main focus … since it is the most sparkling city at the moment."
Ferrari Trento, which is not affiliated with the Ferrari Italian auto manufacturer, also sponsors the F1 Alfa Romeo team Orlen. "Food and drinks are so important to enjoy life to the fullest," said Stefano Battiston, head of partnership marketing for Alfa Romeo team Orlen. "We are lucky to be partners with Ferrari Trento, a company that shares our drive for perfection."
Lawrence Wine Estates managing partner Carlton McCoy was also on hand at the Miami Grand Prix, serving as the event’s official Master Sommelier and creating wine lists for the event’s many luxury hospitality spaces, including the Paddock Club, where his Ink Grade Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2019 was on the menu.
"It’s exciting to see the convergence of fine wine in the racing space," McCoy said in a statement. “I am thrilled about our ability to curate these amazing wine experiences to further build upon the unique identity of the race. It’s our intention to have the greatest selection of wines of any Grand Prix in the world.”
France's Château Minuty was also a Miami Grand Prix partner, supplying 1,200 cases of Provence rosé. “The inaugural Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix proved to be an even more thrilling race weekend than we could have imagined,” said Sebastien Nore, Minuty’s global strategy and export director. “Going into this race, we understood the huge potential for Minuty based on F1's global and increasing U.S. fan base."
And if Italian sparklers and French rosés weren’t enough, Piper-Heidsieck hosted a “Champagne Garden” offering a lineup of Piper sparklers along with Oberon Napa Cabernet and Villa Sandi Pinot Grigio.
The Spanish Grand Prix, Formula 1’s next wine-soaked extravaganza (plus car race), hits the road May 22 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
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.