Former NFL great brings his new wine to Inglewood 

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By Emilie St. John

Contributing Writer

INGLEWOOD — Former NFL receiver Terrell Owens chose a local wine bar to introduce his second wine. 

Owens showcased the Reserve Cabaret Sauvignon 2018, the second product under his Eighty-One Wines label, at 1010 Wines and Events on La Brea Avenue, about two and half miles northwest of SoFi Stadium June 29.

Owens, who retired after the 2010 season after a 15-year Hall of Fame career, is a relative newcomer to the wine industry. 

His Eighty-One Wines is a partnership with Lasorda Family Wines, the family business started by the late Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda. Lasorda Family Wines runs its winemaking operations from Paso Robles region.

“During the pandemic, everyone was pivoting and my marketing rep knew the Lasorda family who were looking to collaborate with athletes and my name was on the list,” said Owens, who had no experience with wine at the time.

“I’ve tried wine since being drafted in 1996 by the San Francisco 49ers and being from Alabama, we aren’t known for drinking wine, and within the Black community we aren’t known for drinking wine, and so that was part of the reason to be more vested and more knowledgeable about wine,” Owens said.

Eighty-One is the second offering under the Owens label, the first being the Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, which is a blend of Cabernet and Syrah. The Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 is 100% Cabernet.

“As an athlete, you attend a lot of events and are offered wine, either white or red, and because I had no clue the veterans said to be safe, go with the red,” Owens said. “I initially didn’t like it because it was bitter and dry and I didn’t like the after taste.”

Lasorda Family Wines then embarked on creating a wine more to the liking of Owens’ pallet, whose preference was something sweet like a Moscato or Riesling.

“Becoming knowledgeable about the wine space, and to be taken seriously, you start with the Cabernets,” Owens said.

Eighty-One’s latest offering features essences of black currant and cherry, nutmeg, and cedar with the first sip. Rhubarb, raw almond, and cherry pepper show up on the tongue, followed by cardamom and a dark chocolate finish from aging in French and American oak.

“The characteristics of a red wine are big, bold and dry,” Owens said. “Then I started to see familiarities of who I am, in the wine, and I embody the big and bold but definitely not dry.”

Owens was not only hands on with the contents of the bottle but also its packaging.

The brand, Eighty-One, is named for the number Owens wore during his NFL career. The 2018 represents the year he was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame, the label is textured like a football, and the gold starbursts are popcorn kernels.

“If you followed my career I had this thing ‘get your popcorn ready,’” Owens said. “I’m very dialed into the product and not just throwing my name on something but being involved throughout the entire process.”

Owens played for five different teams during his Hall of Fame career. He was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the third round of the 1996 draft out of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He also played for the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals.

He ranks among the NFL’s all-time leaders in several receiving categories. His 1,078 catches are eighth and his 15,934 yards and 153 touchdowns are third. 

Lasorda Family Wines is run by David Lasorda, who provided insight on why the company partnered with athletes to bring wines to market.

“We launched Lasorda Family Wines in 2015 and realized with a name like Tommy Lasorda and how the fan base loved and supported him, they loved the wine and we realized there’s opportunity to partner with other athletes across other sports that the fans would get behind too,” Lasorda said.

“We wanted a partner with an established career, and from one Hall of Famer to another, we want that caliber of athlete as a partner,” Lasorda said.

Owens’ event at 1010 Wines featured a giveaway of bottles of his 2018 cab along with products from his new candle line, Loft81, which features the fragrance “Tough Love,” dedicated to the memory of Terrell’s late grandmother, Alice.

“The candles pair well with my wine,” Owens said with a bright smile.

Owens also thought it was important to bring his wine to the popular Inglewood wine bar that only carries wines made by Black vintners.

“I love what LeAnn and Leslie [owners of 1010 Wines] are doing and they have been very supportive in carrying my wine and making events like tonight’s possible,” Owens said.

To purchase the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon visit the company’s website

Emilie St. John is a freelance journalist covering the areas of Carson, Compton, Inglewood and Willowbrook. Send tips to her at

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