Pruett finds success in wine biz

If you want to know how competitive Scott Pruett is, just ask his wife Judy.

“He wants to be the best at everything he does,” she said.

It’s not surprising that the five-time GrandAm champ — who won the series’ last three titles — puts as much effort into his Auburn, Calif. winery as he does his racing.

Wine Spectator Magazine recently named Pruett Vineyards one of the top-10 winemakers to watch in the future. Obviously, Pruett is as driven in the vineyard as he is on the racetrack.

“When Scott isn’t racing or working out, he’s in the vineyard,” Judy Pruett joked. “I’m either a race widow or a wine widow.”

Pruett, 52, won the pole for this weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, an event he’s won four times (five times in the DP class). On Sunday, Pruett hopes to tie Hurley Haywood’s record of five event titles in what is considered the Super Bowl of American sports car racing.

After his first stint in the Chip Ganassi Racing BMW, he spoke of his recent accolades in Wine Spectator Magazine. Pruett Vineyard scored 93 points for their 2010 Lucky Lauren in WSM’s list of 10 affordable California Rhones.

“It’s very exciting from the Pruett Vineyard side of it because we do all the work,” Pruett said. “I do all the winemaking. Our family does the bottling, the labeling, the corking — everything gets done at the house. We’re very small, 500 cases a year.

"When we submitted our wines, our first release which was a year ago, two of our wines — our Estate Syrah and our Reserve Syrah — both received 91 points right out of the box. Which is very exciting, especially for Wine Spectator, who’s arguably one of the most difficult global wine raters around.

“This year our first rating came out with one of Lucky Lauren Red — named for our oldest daughter Lauren — it received 93 points and it also received the No. 1 Rhone value wine in California under $35. Last week, they came out and rated our Estate Syrah a 93.”

Pruett’s first releases bore a 2008 vintage. In 2011, Wine Spectator invited Pruett to submit his Championship Cuvee for review. The rookie winemaker earned a score of 90 for the Cabernet blend.

Pruett is the first to admit that “the good Lord has blessed” him with two incredible careers.

“I was here at Daytona in ’84,” Pruett said. “And I’m here again in 2013. If you look at that number, it’s a pretty big number. We’re coming off a championship — our third in a row. It’s nice to be on the pole here, so all is good.”

If Pruett does tie Haywood’s record Sunday afternoon, the good news is he won’t have to supply the bubbly for Victory Lane.