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Cam Newton: Quarterback and newly discovered wine connoisseur 

CHARLOTTE – You never really know what to expect from a Cam Newton press conference.

On Wednesday, Carolina’s star quarterback offered his usual thoughts about the offense needing to find and stay on rhythm after last week’s lopsided loss at Pittsburgh. He talked about the mindset heading into this week’s game at Detroit

“Do your job, and our job is to win football games,” Newton said. “We don’t feel sorry for ourselves, nor do we expect anybody else to. We have to put ourselves in the best possible position as this playoff picture kind of shapes and morphs out. That’s pretty much where we are now.”

When he was asked about how he spent his “mini-bye,” that’s when things took a fun and interesting turn.

"A lot of family time. Just tried to relax," Newton said. "A lot of cigar smoking, wine drinking, milk feeding. But daddy’s got to get back to work. Chosen was looking at me sideways like, 'Bruh, you lost bad.'"

A follow-up question about his favorite wines led to Newton opening up about a new passion.

“I picked up a hobby, man. It’s something I really enjoy,” Newton said. “I’m on sauvignon blanc right now. Pretty light wine and good, mild smoke.

“It’s something warms the soul so to speak after a rigorous day, as you can imagine I’ve had at times.”

Awhile back, Newton learned that Rudy Patino, who oversees the Panthers’ cafeteria, was a certified sommelier.

“He was just telling me everything about it. I was just recently watching the documentary on Netflix – 'Somm' – and that was just so cool to me,” Newton said. “I feel like if I had a gift or a hidden talent outside of playing an instrument, I’d want to be a sommelier. Being able to distinctively tell what type of wine it is, where it’s from and everything about the wine by just the taste and look… that’s pretty cool.”

Newton admits his wine knowledge and tasting ability needs a lot of work.

“Nah, I’m terrible. Terrible,” Newton said. “If I come across a good taste, I am quick to take pictures of it. ‘Excuse me, have you seen this wine right here?’ Got this French word on it that I can’t pronounce. ‘You have anything kind of like it?’ Unless somebody has a wine app, I’m screwed.”

Newton’s thoughts on wine created what turned into “Wine Wednesday” at Bank of America Stadium.

Linebacker Luke Kuechly was asked if he’s also a wine guy: “A wine guy? No. If I do drink wine, it’s not the same wine Cam is drinking, I can tell you that much.”

Head coach Ron Rivera came to his press conference prepared to share some wine takes.

“I enjoy the pinot noirs,” Rivera said. “My favorite is Goldeneye by Duckhorn – the grapes are grown in the Russian (River) valley of Northern California. I’m also very partial to Napa cabernets.”

Newton is a late arrival to the wine game. Some of today’s biggest NBA stars have really gotten into it over the last few years.

“D-Wade has had his own wine for years now,” Newton said. “That’s cool. So many people are into it.”

Would Newton like to have his own?

“Too early to tell,” he said.

But the full-bodied, bold quarterback knows what it would be called.

“Boogie Down,” Newton said with a smile. “Boogie down your esophagus.”

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