TORONTO - Tom Green has helped create the perfect wine for hockey fans.
The NHL Alumni Association and Diamond Estates Wines and Spirits Ltd., launched Hat Trick Red and Hat Trick White on Monday at the Hockey Hall of Fame.
And what helps make the wines a natural fit with hockey fans is their food pairings. Hat Trick White is listed as a perfect fit with "BBQ peppercorn steaks, Italian Sausages or Meat Pizza." Hat Trick Red, on the other hand, is suitable with "Chinese takeout, Hot Buffalo Wings or Natchos piled high with chicken and vegetables."
"For us, wine is not supposed to be pretentious," said Green, Diamond Estates' vice-president of winemaking. "There is no wrong answer to food pairing.
"No one likes to say pizza, but, yeah, you can have a nice bottle of Hat Trick Red with pizza while watching the game, it's great. The Hat Trick White has some nice natcho dip aspects going for it. Again, it's a lifestyle component we're trying to look at. I like beer, don't get me wrong, but there's a time and place for beer and there's also a time and place for wine."
The new hockey-inspired wines are currently available in LCBO outlets in Ontario at $12.95 per bottle. The wines will appear in select liquor stores in Alberta and Manitoba within the month.
What's more, 50 cents from each bottle sold goes to the NHL Alumni Association to support various charitable causes and help further promote the game.
"Hockey is Canada and what better way to celebrate this long and rich history than with a great bottle of wine that embodies our price and passion for all things Canadian," said Murray Marshall, the president and chief executive officer of Diamond Estates.
Diamond Estates also produces Canadian actor Dan Aykroyd's line of wines. Green helped craft the Hat Trick wines with fellow winemakers Jason Roller and Scott McGregor.
Both vintages of Hat Trick are made from 100 per cent Ontario grapes and got the Hat Trick name because they're a blend of three different grapes.
Mark Napier, the executive director of the NHL Alumni Association, couldn't be happier with the finished product.
"We're just thrilled how they turned out," he said. "Our first criteria was a great wine, our second criteria was the price point.
"We don't want to just go out and sign bottles. We want people to drink those bottles."
Toronto Maple Leafs legend Johnny Bower, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, doesn't see that being a problem.
"It's a nice wine to drink, a really nice, sweet wine," the 87-year-old said of the Hat Trick Red. "You can't go wrong.
"It tastes good and the price is right."