On those twilight nights, when the sky over Napa Valley is blue as a robin's egg, warm and perhaps accompanied by a breeze, there's nothing quite like it.
“I sit on our estate,” says Valeri Bure, “usually alone and drink a glass of our beer.wine.
“I looked down and down there was a vineyardVineyard. I can't believe this kid from Russia has it all.
"This is amazing.
"It doesn't get any better. On the patio, you stop and take it all in and go, 'Wow'."
"Super, super legal."
It's been nearly two decades since his blond brother Pavel joined the Calgary Flames in a deal that sent forward Jonas Hoglund and guard Zali Zalapski to the East Montreal Canadiens.
Bull is 42 years old and it has been over a decade since he last played in the NHL with the Dallas Stars. His wife, actress Candace Cameron, co-hosts ABC's popular daytime talk show, "The View." The couple have three children: daughter Natasha (who recently appeared on The Voice) and two sons Lev and Maxim.
Much of Bure's time over the past decade has been spent at Bure Family Wines, a labor of love that has become a major success story.
The company's label is based on the family coat of arms of his great-grandfather, watchmaker to the Tsar of Russia. Modification: One of the two eagles on the crest holds a hockey stick in its talons.
“I guess you would call us a ‘boutique’ winery,” explained Bure. “But boutique wineries typically produce 3,000 to, I would say, 20,000 cases.
“We have about 700 cases. So we are a very small boutique.
"We're high standard. Everything is handmade. We don't cut corners. We use French oak throughout. We do triple screening. We don't use tractors in the fields.
“All these small details are important to us and make us unique. We need first of all quality control.
“This is my vision and interpretation of good wine.
“That's what our brand stands for.”
Pocket Russian Rocket's best NHL seasons came at the Dome, scoring 26, 35 and 27 goals from 1998 to 2001. At the time, he was at the center of the Young Guns promotional era, when life-sized cutouts of Val Bure they gave the welcome park goers. Candy shelves at a Mac grocery store.
"You know what? I really enjoyed my time in Calgary. I was shocked when they switched me from Montreal. I heard about Bryan (Sutter) and now I'm a little nervous. He's considered a very demanding guy. good?"
"From day one, he was a straight shooter, a hardworking coach. He trained the way he played. We just... we got along really well. We didn't talk a lot, but he knew how to approach me. We had open communication. , I really liked.
“Looking back, I think we were six months to a year away from being a really good team,” reflects Bull now. "I just don't think we had enough time. When they started to break this team up, it was disappointing. It's not like we've been together for six or seven years. It's all about maturity. It's kind of sad because it's something that Coatesy (General Manager Al Coates) built with the future in mind.
“But, as I said, I cannot adequately describe the time I spent there.
"This town loves hockey players and the hockey game. I have nothing but fond memories of Calgary."
After being traded to Florida from the Flames, Bull played three more seasons – with the Panthers, Blues and finally the Stars.
With persistent back problems and a desire to spend more time with his family, he unsuccessfully tried to return to the Los Angeles Kings after back surgery and retired at the age of 31.
After falling in love with Napa Valley, he began meeting California winemakers.
“I started working during the harvest. That's when I realized this is what I really wanted to do after hockey.
“The thrill of picking grapes from the vine. The thrill of fruit selection. The emotion of seeing the wine in the barrel.
“The whole process, starting in March or April, then two and a half years in bottle?
"It was a really special experience.
“It's very rewarding to be able to share your passion with friends and hear people say, 'Your wine is one of the best I've ever tasted.' But I don't want to please anyone – I'm making the wine I love. And if that translates to something other people love, it's a win-win situation.
“When our customers send us pictures of them drinking our wines on a ski vacation or family celebration, that's the connection you make.
“For me, this is what wine is: family, connection.”
The equation between limited supply versus high quality has proven to be very successful. Bure's wines are only sold to mailing list customers and it can take two and a half to three years for your name to appear on that list.
The wines currently produced are Majesty Blend, Nuit Blanche and Duration.
“Each year is different, and so is hockey,” he explained. “In hockey, you know it's going to be 82 games. For us, we know we're going to pick September or October.
"There's never a dull moment where you're like, 'Hey, I did it this year, so we'll do the same thing next year. ' That doesn't work. You have to be ahead of the game. Like hockey.
"It was amazing to see the whole process unfold."
Outside of the game, Val Bure hasn't been paying much attention to the NHL lately. He achieved his brilliance by other means, closer to home.
“My two sons, ages 14 and 16, play hockey and I'm on the ice with them almost every day, coaching them and giving them advice.
“Actually, I'll be there for three hours tonight. I know the booze will still be there. .
"Sometimes they listen, sometimes they don't."
An ice rink and a vineyard. The two places where Walpur feels most at home.
Then he was asked if he would consider playing more: beating the keeper with a beautiful Dirk and winning the game, or standing outside at dusk in Napa, overlooking the vineyards, with a glass of his own wine, marveling at how far the children have come. come from Russia?
"Ahhh. Oh man," Bull replied. "Difficult answer."
“When you score a great goal, everything happens so fast, so naturally, so fast... you do it, celebrate, get emotional, but only then try to enjoy what happened, remember your experiences”. head.
“It's pure emotion, that boom, that exuberance and you have to go so high for the next transition.
“Here, at the hotel, I slowed everything down. So that royal moment lasted much longer.
“Each of them feels like 'Well, that's great!' but in the courtyard it lasts longer, it almost turns into a three-dimensional experience.
“So, the same feeling, one spreads more than the other.
"But trust me, they're all great."