Former TCU, MLB player, wife now pitching new winery

Sam and Jennifer Demel

38 & Vine

212 Carroll Street, Ste. 130, Fort Worth.

Monday- Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday, noon-7 p.m.

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The tasting process: The doors of 212 Carroll St. will open to a 25-foot wall lined with 42 specialty wines available for tasting. Once a guest selects their wine of interest, they can “self-serve” by sliding their card to select a sip (1 ounce), taste (2 ounces) or pour (5 ounces) option. This unique approach to service allows guests to taste rare premium varietals or sample a number of bottles before purchasing their selection for the night.

Signature Perks: Valet parking; private tasting room for up to 10 people; wine club membership that will provide discounts, first options to purchase new selections, and event invitations; special at-home or in-office deliveries are available within the city of Fort Worth; lite bites and dessert menu; take-out wine and food.

Not so long ago, Sam Demel was striking out batters as a major league baseball pitcher. Now, he and his wife Jennifer are both big-time players in local real estate and are pitching their new concept in enjoying fine wine.

Their new tasting room and wine bar, 38 & Vine, is coming to the bustling Foundry District in December.

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Wine lovers, curious tasters, and early happy hour visitors will now sip, taste, pour, and savor from a selection of more than 40 international and U.S. rotating wine selections.

The name comes from Sam’s No. 38 he wore when he retired from the Arizona Diamondbacks, and their combined love of wine.

The curation includes a diverse lineup, from crisp whites to rich reds. Tasters can select from 1, 2, and 5-ounce glasses.

“Sam and I love Fort Worth and always knew that it would be our forever home. We wanted to bring a piece of our favorite things from traveling back to the city to share with the community we care so much about,” Jennifer said. “North Texas is thriving and deserves cool, forward thinking concepts to enjoy.”

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Located between Downtown and the Cultural District, the venue will feature a tasting room of more than 1,400 square feet inspired by the look and feel of an intimate European cocktail lounge. In addition to their robust wine selection, the beverage menu will include champagne and craft beer options exclusively from DFW breweries.

They’ve also partnered with two local culinary favorites to provide light meals and dessert options.

Fellow Foundry District business Meyer & Sage will have ready-made charcuterie boards, hummus plates, and small salads. Also, Arlington bakery Gold Ribbon Confections will offer an assortment of cakes, pies, and chocolates, based on seasonal ingredients and flavors.

The new business includes a special highlight – a 10 seat private tasting room for small group tastings, educational classes, and private reservations.

The idea came after Sam and Jennifer, both Texas natives, traveled to some of the country’s biggest cities (of which Fort Worth is now one, ranking 13th in population). They also spent a lot of time on the West Coast, having great wine experiences.

They realized North Texas was missing some major innovations and wanted to bring something special to their beloved city.

“One thing I discovered early in my professional baseball career was in order to achieve at the highest level I needed to find a need and develop myself as a fit for that need for each particular team,” Sam said. “In retirement from baseball I’ve taken that same mentality into business. My wife Jennifer and I have often been looking for a relaxing place to explore wines in Fort Worth and haven’t found the place that fits that need. Thus was born 38 & Vine.

“Our goal is to make wine approachable and fun to enjoy from the novice consumer to those just embarking on the journey.”

Now, their idea has become a reality. The space was conceptualized by local design firm Jessica McIntyre Interiors and features rich, lush decor, complemented by signature wallpaper and cozy furniture.

Jennifer and Sam have been familiar faces in Fort Worth for a while.

The two met at TCU, where Sam was a pitcher for the Horned Frogs from 2005-07. He was then drafted by the Oakland A’s and traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks after three years, making his major league debut in 2010. He retired in 2015, going into the real estate business with Jennifer as agents for the Burt Ladner agency.

They have received several awards in the real estate industry, including Top Realtor, and were honored this year in the Business Press 40 Under 40 awards.

In addition to their career pursuits, both enjoy immersing themselves in philanthropy. Together, they currently serve on the board of The Blast for Cook Children’s Hospital.