Patrick Chan goes 'On Ice' in wine business venture
'Icewine perfect fit for my career'
For an athlete who has crafted a career on ice, it was the perfect marriage of sport and business venture.
Three-time world figure skating champion Patrick Chan is launching his own icewine, joining the likes of athlete-turned-wine owners Wayne Gretzky, Mike Weir and Greg Norman.
Chan's "On Ice" is a 2013 Riesling icewine from Flat Rock Cellars in the Niagara region.
"Icewine is the perfect fit for my career, and to complement my career and what I've achieved, and being a figure skater, it matches, and the name being 'On ice' is pretty perfect," Chan said Friday.
Elliott Kerr, Chan's agent with Landmark Sport Group, originally floated the idea with Chan.
"I watched how golfers have become associated very successfully with the wine industry, whether it's been Greg Norman or Ernie Els or Mike (Weir), and I said 'Why not a figure skater?"' Kerr said.
"The golf clubs of the world patronize the golf-associated wines, why not a figure skater? And Patrick being the perfect individual in the context of character, athleticism, determination, all those kinds of things."
The 24-year-old skater from Toronto, who said he enjoys drinking wine with dinner, made several visits to Flat Rock Cellars to taste and select from the various batches.
"When it is bottled and I present it to people, it is truly my wine. It's not someone that picked it for me," Chan said. "I had a first taste yesterday, and the first time I've seen the bottle in its concrete form, and I'm so happy with it. It's a blast. . . it really tastes great and it really is subtle and I think that complements my skating perfectly."
He also chose the label from numerous options — understated in white and gold, it represents the white ice sheet with gold circles carved by a skate blade, with a gold maple leaf.
Written on the back, in English and French: "One's dedication to their craft creates the perfect moment."
Chan is making a comeback after sitting out last season. He said using his creative talents off the ice will help him remain cool on it.
"It's been a great experience for me and a whole different world away from figure skating," he said. "It's something that, when I'm competing, and when I'm nervous or concerned about how I'm doing, I can really just look at what I've achieved outside of the skating world, which is great. The icewine is just an addition to that and I can really sit back and enjoy great things like the ice wine.
"It's a bit surreal to be honest."
"On Ice" will sell for $34.95. It's available at Flat Rock Cellars and through the winery's website. Flat Rock Cellars' president and founder Ed Madronich said it should be on Ontario liquor store shelves by the fall. There are also plans to eventually push it across Canada, and then in Japan and Hong Kong, where Flat Rock already has distribution deals — and where Chan has a huge fan base.
Chan will launch the icewine — a dessert wine produced from grapes that have been frozen on the vine — on Sunday at the winery in an event that is open to the public.