There was a time in America where professional sports and wine intersected on a very specific and frankly elitist level. Once considered a luxury for the few, wine was more likely to take center stage in a private box at the US Open tennis tournament or next to a sloop on a Cup night. the America than in a place where most sports fans could enter.

Fortunately, times have changed. As wine has become part of our cultural fabric, it has also become an integral part of playing sports that we hold dear. Baseball, basketball, NASCAR racing, hockey, skiing, chances are you’ll find a good glass of wine at all of these events. And guess what? You will be able to get – and, without taking out a second mortgage, afford – a place there.

High profile athletes and sports personalities have also gotten in on the action, with impressive rosters of collectors, winery investors and wine lifestyle cheerleaders.

This month, we honor the the alliance of sport and wine, including exclusive interviews with seven of the sport’s most famous personalities who are also deeply connected to wine. Each offers insight into how wine has found its way into their daily routine and, in some cases, how it motivates them to stay at the top of their game.

Also featured, wine and sports pairings chosen by our editorial team, the best sports sites in which to swirl and sip and best sporting years connected to the best wine crus. Warning: in the game, your glass must never be empty again.

Speaking of being at the top of their game, years of identifying the best vineyard sites and ideal harvest times combined with winemaking and blending techniques have resulted in the best wines in Chile. South America Editor-in-Chief Michael Schachner looks at four main categories of chilean wines and what to drink from each.

Another regular champion, New Zealand will surprise you not with its crisp Sauvignon Blancs or its silky Pinot Noirs, but with its trendiest varietal wine: Syrah. Editor-in-chief Joe Czerwinski reflects on this complex and gourmet red.

Also in the issue: delicious Loire food and wine pairings, aka the Garden of France; our List of Wines and Foods Inspired by Venice; and a return to the memorable Judgment of Paris, 40 years later.

Cheers!