The Sporting Wine Club
The Sporting Wine Club founded by Ex-England rugby player and current Chairman of European Professional Club Rugby, Simon Halliday and his business partner Chris Mariner. The Club sells and promotes any wine which is owned or produced by sporting personalities or individuals with a strong, authentic relationship with sport – and every wine sold is an estate wine bottled at source. With a healthy number of well-known sporting personalities already on board, they are always looking to expand their portfolio.
Simon and Chris have both spent the last two decades travelling around the world, sampling great wines produced by sporting personalities, so decided the time had come to combine their love of sport with a wine adventure. They wanted to share the unique wines they had become so passionate about – each one telling their own sporting story – with their friends back home and beyond.
The idea was to create a wine club with a difference – an exclusive sporting dynamic. Simon and Chris were initially introduced to the South African wine industry by their great friend and legendary Springbok Schalk Burger Snr, who along with his family, runs the stunning Welbedacht Estate in South Africa. They started bringing a range of ‘Schalk Burger & Sons’ wines back to the UK to share with their family and friends. It quickly dawned on the pair that combining stunning Estate wine with great sporting stories and a charitable angle, provided a winning formula; the unique concept of the Sporting Wine Club was born.
SWC is a members’ club with a difference; there is no membership fee – instead members, both corporate and private accrue a sporting wine credit throughout the year – and members have the opportunity to attend exclusive events with sporting personalities. Committed to supporting the sporting community at large and therefore profit from all tiers of membership is distributed between our winemaker’s chosen sporting charities.
Co-Founder and CEO
Chris grew up in Ireland and represented his home county at championship level in GAA Gaelic Football and continued to play at senior club level when emigrating to the USA and UK, where he also played club rugby. Chris’ background is in construction management and economics and he has managed many businesses and high-value projects throughout Europe.
Co-Founder and CEO
Simon has enjoyed distinguished careers in both rugby and city finance. As a young centre he graduated from Oxford University (where he also played first class cricket) and went on to play for Bath, Harlequins and England. He won five trophies for Bath and 23 caps for England, including back-to-back Grand Slams and an appearance in the 1991 World Cup final – on the wing! Simon currently acts as the Chairman of European Professional Club Rugby and juggles his Sporting Wine Club duties with the role of Chairman of Help for Heroes Friendly Forces Committee. His autobiography – City Centre – won the Best Rugby Book award at the 2014 British Sports Book Awards.
At SWC, we are building a solid global network of friends in wine and sport to bring you the very best sporting wines from around the world. Luckily most rugby countries are also wine producers which helps, but we are not confining ourselves to one sport; golf, cricket and american football are also on our immediate agenda with more to come!