Now Cork & Flame

Gary Player Visits the Vineyard

Event: The Vineyard was packed. When I arrived shortly before 3pm the line was out the door. Mr. Gary Player was already inside signing bottles of his first release of Gary Player Major Championship Series – 1959 Muirfield-The Black Knight!

I’ve photographed Mr. Player many times over the years working for the Augusta Chronicle starting back in 1989. To me he hasn’t aged a bit. He’s the most gracious man I’ve met in many years. After watching him sign over 300 bottles of wine plus flags, a jacket, Augusta National Scorecards, Masters Journals and even the back of one of my business cards (not for me but for a lady in line), I’ve added him to my list of most admired gentlemen* I’ve met in my life.

The Gary Player Major Championship Series is a limited release wine comprising of 18 vintages starting with 2003. Each vintage will be dedicated to one of Gary Player’s Major Championship titles with the first of the eighteen releases being his victory at Muirfield, Scotland, in 1959. Each vintage will have a specifically dedicated label and the annual production will be limited. This release, normally $79.99, was specially priced for the signing at $59.99.

The bottles come in 6 bottle half cases wrapped in black tissue. Each had to be unwrapped for him to sign. Also for sale was a line of 4 specialty teas sold under Mr. Player’s Black Knight brand.

Many asked Mr. Player who he thought would win this year and he suggested Tiger. Many thanked him for his contribution to golf. One man thanked him for his stand on apartheid in his native South Africa. Another told him he was an inspiration that helped him through life. Some wanted to hug him, some could only stand back in admiration, bashful to step forward.

One scorecard he signed he joked “get Tiger, Jack and Armold to sign this and you can put your grandson through school.”

I had to endure having a really red face when I called him “Mr. Palmer” once. Ouch. What I twit I looked like. He graciously ignored it. Like I said, he is a very gracious man.

After signing more than 300 bottles, sitting in one spot, Mr. Player had to call it quits around 4:30. The pain in his arm was too great. “I lift weights but this is something,” rubbing a sore arm.

It was a great event, especially since almost never happened. Due to a ruling by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division of the Georgia Department of Revenue the Vineyard Wine Market was told the event couldn’t be held. But the matter was resolved and occurred as planned. (Click for more details on the Augusta Chronicle Website).

As for photos that were taken. I will be offering them for a nominal fee. I apologize for the delay on getting the photos up. There was a little boy at home who I needed to help Mrs. Dan feed, bath and get to bed.

These photos will take a while to post. I took more than 250 photos. They will be on the site for a while so if you don’t see your photo Saturday night check back on Sunday. I’m posting them as fast as possible. I am offering them for a nominal fee of $4.50 for download. If you don’t have the ability to print a digital image then the fee for a 4×6 print will be $10 with shipping included. Additional prints on the same shipping order will be $6. Don’t panic if you can’t do see a method of ordering a print. That will not be posted until after all images have been posted.

If you order a print you must agree not to use the images for commercial purposes without the express written permission of BottleReport and Mr. Player. If you purchase a digital download you may make as many prints for personal use as you wish. But they may not be sold or published without permission of or Grand Horizons LLC.

Unfortunately the shooting conditions were a bit challenging. In order to get more than 300 bottles signed bottles were being pushed in and out on the table. Some photographs show this. Please look at the quality of the image before purchasing.

To view the images simply click through the galleries below. Use the image number that appear to order your print.

That list includes my father, Coach Shug Jordan, David Housel, Moneta J. Sleet Jr., Byron Nelson and now Gary Player.
Where: Vineyard Wine Market (map), 4414 Evans to Lock Road, Evans, GA. (706) 922-9463

When: Saturday, April 10th 3 to 5 PM
Cost: With the purchase of a bottle of Gary Player Major Championship Series – 1959 Muirfield-The Black Knight!

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