Vernon Wells with the Earburner boys.

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New EarBurner: Vernon Wells, Arlington Native and Retired MLB Player

Years after signing one of the largest contracts in baseball history, Vernon Wells shifts his focus to wine.

Vernon Wells—Major League Baseball journeyman, Arlington native, winery owner—now lives in Westlake, near Herschel Walker. His life sounds pretty normal, or at least as normal as it can be when you call Herschel Walker a neighbor. Wells makes his kids lunch. He coaches their football and basketball teams. He takes walks around his neighborhood. He doesn’t travel as much as he’d like, particularly to the vineyard he bought in Napa Valley with his partner, former teammate Chris Iannetta. All of this sounds theoretically familiar, if elevated a bit.

Tim interviewed Vernon for the January issue of the magazine, ostensibly about JACK Winery, which now has four wines available for sale on its website. (If you’re wondering why I keep capitalizing JACK, it’s because it is an acronym for their respective children: Jayce, Ashlyn, Christian, and Kylie.) It’s been well received. Robert Parker Wine Advocate magazine rates the wines in the mid-to-high 90s. Wine Spectator has given them solid marks too, all high 80s and low 90s, but it looks like they haven’t tried the newer releases that Parker liked so much. This second act for Wells began after he retired from the league; he and Iannetta bonded over wine when sidelined with injuries, and both decided to get into the game to make something that would be at home in a steakhouse.

Wells, whose $126 million contract with the Blue Jays in 2006 was the 13th $100 million contract in major league history, retired in 2013 with 270 career home runs and nearly 1,000 RBIs. And he still thinks baseball is too slow. Show notes after the jump.

  1. These are the Dallas Mavericks’ city jerseys. Zac Crain is not a fan.

2. Vernon lives in Westlake. Here is how we described his town in 2017:

Let’s say you have oodles of money, need easy access to DFW Airport, and like your privacy. Enter Westlake. No, really. Just try entering Westlake. You’re not going to get very far because most of the small town—set between the borders of Southlake, Fort Worth, Keller, Roanoke, and Trophy Club—is made up of gated communities. The crown jewel of these is Vaquero, a 350-lot residential community and country club developed in 2001 on a portion of the fabled Circle T Ranch land.

Most residents here join the club, but if you have to ask about the initiation fee, you probably can’t afford it. The Equity Golf membership gets you access to the Tom Fazio-designed course and, if you live inside Vaquero’s 24-hour-guarded gates, comes with concierge services encompassing everything from dry cleaning to car washing to pet sitting. “It’s resort-style living,” says Cheryl Staley of Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty. “But it’s not stuffy. It’s not snooty.

Don’t be surprised if you walk into the club and people are wearing shorts and flip-flops.” Vaquero, however, now has some competition: Quail Hollow, a not-yet-developed community across the street that’s being marketed as more exclusive, with only 92 homesites. It’s also more expensive—lots are priced anywhere from $595,000 to $2 million, and that’s just for the dirt.

3. You can head here to learn all about JACK Wine, and even buy a bottle or three.

4. Well look at that: The Dallas Morning News just wrote a profile of the Rangers’ new manager, Chris “Woody’ Woodward, who Vernon came up with.

5. The boring Wing T offense, as seen on youth football fields across this country.

6. Here’s a neat little profile in The Fort Worth Star-Telegram about Vernon coaching in Colleyville.

7. Herschel Walker, ladies and gentlemen:

8. If you want to learn more about the man behind JACK Wine, here you are. Meet Grant Long Jr.

9. George Foreman had a whole lot of George Foremans. Just look here.

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