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Former University of Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer is getting into wine business

Barry Switzer has established Switzer Family Vineyards, a line of wine originating in the Napa Valley.
BY BERRY TRAMEL btramel@opubco.com Modified: June 23, 2011 at 10:25 pm •  Published: June 23, 2011
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Barry Switzer always has called himself a bootlegger's boy. Even named his book that. Frank Switzer apparently was in the illegal alcohol business. Now his son has joined the legal alcohol business.

Switzer, the former University of Oklahoma football coach, has established Switzer Family Vineyards, a line of wine originating in the Napa Valley, distributed by National Republic.

Switzer held a wine-tasting event Wednesday evening at Benvenuti's in Norman to kick off his wine business.

Switzer said his old friend, Patsy Benso, convinced him 20-25 years ago to give up hard liquor.

“Quit drinking the hard stuff,” Benso said. Drink red wine, said Benso, who operated Othello's in Norman and told Switzer that drinking wine allowed Italians to live long lives. “All that other hard stuff is bad for your liver, your kidney.”

Switzer said he became educated on wine while coaching the Dallas Cowboys. Owner Jerry Jones considered himself a wine connoisseur; the night before games, Switzer and Larry Lacewell would dine with Jones.

“So, I learned what good wine was,” Switzer said. “Today, when I drink a good wine, I know it's a good wine. When I buy a $50-$60 bottle, I know it's better than the $20-$30 bottle.”

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