The San Francisco Giants Are the First Major Sports Team to Hire Their Own Master Sommelier

The team may miss the playoffs, but their wine program is leading the league.

Tommy La Stella of the San Francisco Giants; a sommelier with a glass of white wine
Photo: Brace Hemmelgarn / Minnesota Twins / Getty Images; Maxim Fesenko / Getty Images

In professional sports, teams can try to build from within, banking on draft picks and coaching, hoping that chemistry will make a team more than the sum of its parts. But sometimes, the best bet is to just acquire an experienced veteran. That's what the San Francisco Giants have done… with their wine program, at least, inking a deal with a Master Sommelier.

Billed as the "first-ever Master Sommelier for a professional sports organization," Evan Goldstein was announced this week as the latest addition to the Giants, with the club saying the partnership has the goal of "enhancing the gameday experience and further solidifying [the Giants'] connection to the wine industry."

The Giants suggest that breaking ground for Major League Baseball in this department is nothing new: In 1977, the old Candlestick Park became the first MLB ballpark to offer in-stadium wine service. And currently, Oracle Park has an almost overwhelming wine selection that the team describes as "a dedicated wine bar on each level, California Wine Carts along the Promenade and View Levels and seven unique locations that offer wine on tap." With Goldstein's help, the Giants hope to elevate things even further.

"Wine, like baseball, is an experience — it creates and impacts memories and brings people together," stated Goldstein, who also happens to be a lifelong Giants fan. "Delicious wines can be mainstream and accessible, and as happy being alongside a hot dog as a premium steak. I am excited to collaborate with the Giants to create a new wine benchmark for sports entertainment."

The Giants presented Goldstein's new duties in six bullet points — including handling wine tastings, facilitating wine pairings, assisting the ballpark with selecting wines, curating other wine-related experiences for the Giants community, working with current and former Giants players either involved in or interested in becoming a part of the wine industry, and exploring wine-related opportunities for the club in general.

"We are thrilled to partner with Evan and bring his extensive knowledge of wine into our organization," Jason Pearl, the Giants' senior vice president and chief business development officer, added. "His unique vision and passion for how wine and baseball can interact on multiple levels, inside and outside the ballpark, is exciting and we look forward to the collaboration."

As for Goldstein's stats, he was a bit of a rookie phenomenon: When he passed the exam in 1987, he was just the eighth American and youngest ever at the time to be named a Master Somm. He's written four books, been named to the "Top 100 Most Influential People in the U.S. Wine Industry" on two occasions.

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