Ex-Packers start 'Three Fat Guys' wine label

Published Apr. 11, 2012 3:29 p.m. EDT

Three Fat Guys wine. It's a silly name for a pricey bottle of cabernet sauvignon, but that's exactly the way these three NFL offensive linemen like it.

Daryn Colledge, Tony Moll and Jason Spitz — all of whom were drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 2006 — spent the past several years working to create their own wine label. With business opportunities now coming in quicker than they can handle — Three Fat Guys wine is licensed to sell in more than 20 states — their dream of making this business a success has already started to come true.

"We're not wine connoisseurs," said Moll, now with the San Diego Chargers. "When the three of us were drafted, the first common denominator was we all enjoyed wine, so it was easy for us to become friends barbecuing in Green Bay during our first offseason together.

"When I got traded (in September 2009), it hit us: If we wanted to do something, we had to do it now. Everything went back to us saying, ‘Lets do wine.' "

Moll, Colledge and Spitz — who combine to weigh just under 1,000 pounds — had no reason to pretend their wine label was anything more than three fat guys selling something that they all enjoy.

"I think we have a great story behind it that people will like," Moll said. "It's fun. It's a play on all three of us and our attitudes. There's a time to be really serious, and there's a time to have a lot of fun. That's the great mixture with our wine.

"You look at the name, I don't care who you are, you're going to laugh and wonder if these guys are serious. But the bottle looks really elegant. Then you taste it, and you're like, ‘This is very good.' "

They do not create the wine themselves and do not have their own winery. That job, at least partially, belongs to their former Packers teammate, cornerback Charles Woodson. Woodson, who is still with Green Bay, has his own winery, and it's from Woodson's grapes that Three Fat Guys Wine is made with the help of winemaker Rick Ruiz. Three Fat Guys wine considers itself a sister company to Woodson's winery, TwentyFour.

However, Moll, Colledge and Spitz are looking to expand their wine label and are talking with other vineyards to begin building up a more diverse brand with plenty of variety.

There's just one problem with running a blossoming business: With all three players 30 years old and younger, there is still plenty of football in their futures.

"We're trying to keep it as a hobby while our main job is to play football," Moll said. "We want to have it in the back of our mind and not worry about it, but the opportunities in front of us are so good, and it's expanding so quickly that we're definitely having to pull on the reins a little bit to get things back in control."

They are selling 124 cases at a time — up from the 99 cases they started with — but they could be pushing out more after passing on several opportunities that would have increased their numbers by several hundred cases.

"The least amount of work we can put in on this, for us, the better," Moll said. "Once we're all done playing football and our bodies can't take it anymore, then OK. Hopefully by then it's taken off, and it can do well, and we have some employees. Then we can reap the rewards."

None of the players invested much money, with Moll describing the amount as "about the same as if each of us were putting in to buy a nice car." They've already made that initial investment back but have put all of it back into the business.

With Colledge now playing with the Arizona Cardinals, Spitz with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Moll living in the Sonoma, Calif., wine country, these three fat guys no longer see each other as often as they once did. But now that they share a wine label, they'll always have a reason to stay in touch.

"If we can just keep it fun and something that all three of our families can be involved in, I think that's what we're pushing for," Moll said.

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