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Wine in the Fast Lane


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Make some room next to the guy with the Miller gut and Winston cough: There’s a new breed of NASCAR fan coming down the fast lane. At least that’s what Danville resident Randy Lynch is betting on. His Bennett Lane Winery is the first California winery to sponsor a NASCAR racing team. The four-car team will race on April 29 in Stockton and on June 24 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma.

“I’ve been racing cars since I was a teenager, and I was a crew chief on a NASCAR team when I was 19,” says Lynch, 57, who plans to drive the team’s second car at Stockton. “It’s fun to be back in the sport. There’s something like 80 million NASCAR fans in the United States, and a lot of wine drinkers are becoming fans.” The team’s sponsorship costs up to $1 million per year for 11 West Coast races.

Lynch and his wife, Lisa, who purchased the Calistoga winery in 2003, have wasted no time in turning their boutique products into hot commodities. Bennett Lane’s 2003 Maximus—a blend of 63 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 24 percent Syrah, 11 percent Merlot, and 2 percent Petit Verdot—recently registered a score of 90 from Wine Spectator.

Lynch still checks in on his San Ramon–based advertising business, the RW Lynch Company, several days a week, although his son, Brian, now manages the firm. Lynch commutes between Danville and Calistoga, and insists that he keeps to the speed limit.
“You don’t try to break speed records in the Napa Valley,” he says with a laugh.

Bennett Lane, 3340 Hwy. 128, Calistoga, (877) 629-6272, www.bennettlane.com.

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