How do you honor a legend like Peyton Manning?
You celebrate him.
That's what the Colts and their fans will do when Manning comes home to Lucas Oil Stadium the first weekend in October.
For 14 seasons, "The Sheriff" called the plays at the line of scrimmage, leading the Colts to victory in 115 regular season games from 2000-2009, the AFC Championship in 2006 and 2009, and Super Bowl XLI.
"He had great teammates around him and with the sustained success they had as a team year after year, our fans expected every Sunday to go home with a win," said Matt Godbout, Sr. VP of Business Development.
And most of the time, they did.
Ranked among the best to ever play the game, on March 7, 2016, following an 18-year NFL career, Manning announced his retirement from football.
On October 7, 2017, Peyton Manning will be immortalized with a bronze statue outside of Lucas Oil Stadium. The following day, his No. 18 jersey will become the first of the Indianapolis era to be retired as his name goes up in the Colts Ring of Honor inside Lucas Oil Stadium.
And to celebrate one of the NFL's all time greats, the Colts are releasing a wine – appropriately named Ring Of Honor.
"With his induction into the Ring of Honor, releasing a commemorative bottle of wine with our partner, Wine By Design gives Colts fans a way to remember an incredible weekend and have a keepsake to hold onto for years to come," Godbout said. "It's a way to recognize what he did for our organization and what he did for the city over the course of his phenomenal career."
But you can't honor a legend with just any wine, which is why Diane Karle, CEO of Wine By Design, brought in master winemaker Andre Hueston Mack, founder of Maison Noir Wines.
"With Andre's wine featured in several top restaurants nationwide and being that he is a huge sports fan, it was the perfect partnership," she said. "We went to the Colts and said, 'Listen, we've got a standout here with Andre, he has a loyal following with consistent releases and understands that sports fans ARE wine drinkers!'"
And like football, wine is a team game.
"When you think of a winemaker, he too is running a team. Andre will say it's not about one person," said Karle. "There's a lot of orchestration that goes into bringing a wine to the consumer."
From the Columbia Valley region, Ring Of Honor is described as a medium-bodied red wine blend with flavors of blackberries, cherries, and spice.
"What I loved about this wine is it's so well balanced out of the gate," said Karle. "You always look for a solid start and a great finish after each sip."
It's also what you look for in a quarterback. And just like No. 18, it's a wine that will stand the test of time.
"This wine is also going to age beautifully. Each year it will just keep getting better" said Karle.
Ring Of Honor is a limited edition wine available online and through select retailers. For more information, go to Colts.com/wine.
Cheers to you, Peyton!