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Montana aging like fine wine

  • Retired 49ers player Joe Montana, had a turn in the wine business. Here he is pictured at Sbragia Family Winery in Geyserville, promoting his former brand, Montagia. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat, 2011)


Of course all Joe Montana had to do was say hello Saturday afternoon and he had the room. When you are the Real American Idol, the owner of four Super Bowl rings, the best to have ever taken a center snap, people are happy just to take in the view. Saturday afternoon, in a side room at the Sbragia Family Winery, Montana gave the people more than that.

Montana spied Kathy Sbragia, two months away from delivering her baby. Sbragia is the wife of Adam, the winery's winemaker. Montana was at the winery to co-sign bottles of some (primarily) Cabernet with his good friend and the winery's owner, Ed Sbragia. Montana noticed, as did the other dozen or so people in the room, that Cathy was looking fabulous for being so far along.

"I've been told that if a woman retains her beauty during her pregnancy, it'll be a boy," Montana said.

"Really?" Cathy Sbragia said.

Montana paused to let the question breathe like fine wine and then said, "No. Just kidding."

Talk about taking over a room. That quick exchange produced the giggles and the laughter. Everyone there settled a foot-deep into a sofa. For those who never met Montana, they had heard about his unassuming nature. The man has no bling, no attitude, they were told. Watch. You'll see. And they did. As Montana was being interviewed, they had to remind themselves this guy played the same sport as Chad Ochocinco and Pacman Jones.

"When I retired," Montana said, "I was still on the NFL's health insurance. But after three years I had to find my own health insurance. I did, for $107,000 a year, and it covered everything excluding ... injuries I sustained playing football."

The room groaned. Montana paused again for dramatic effect.

"So, in other words," Montana said, tugging at his left ear lobe, "if I injured my left ear I'd be covered."

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