Introducing Big Orange Sangria: A Look at the Vols' 1998 National Championship Team
“4…3…2…1…The national champion is clad in Big Orange!”
The words of Tennessee play-by-play announcer John Ward echoed over the radio airwaves across the state of Tennessee, signaling the mountaintop had been reached by the Vols’ 1998 national championship football team.
And with that, the celebration was on for millions of Tennesseans and plenty of others throughout the world. Now, 25 years later, the memory is still etched in the minds of Vols fans.
To commemorate the 25th anniversary of Tennessee’s 1998 national championship team, Tennessee Homemade Wines is proud to bring you Big Orange Sangria! This collaboration with Tennessee legend Al Wilson, a captain and linebacker on that team, is perfect for your next Tennessee tailgate!
Introducing Big Orange Sangria
Big Orange Sangria is a limited edition flavor from Tennessee Homemade Wines and “Big Al”. The flavors of citrus in this wine bring back memories of the Big Orange juices that were flowing when the clock reached all zeros at the 1999 Fiesta Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona!
Enjoy it served “Big Al’s Way”, over ice and garnished with fresh blackberries, strawberries, grapefruit and oranges to add a bit of championship nostalgia to your next Tennessee tailgate!
More on the 1998 National Championship Team
Buoyed by a swarming defense led by Wilson, the Vols held opponents to an average of fewer than 15 points a game en route to the 1998 national championship. Wilson, the heart and soul of the Big Orange defense, earned both first-team All-SEC and All-American honors for his play on the field.
Wilson forced a school-record 3 fumbles and supplied 12 tackles as the Vols knocked off #2 Florida inside of Neyland Stadium 20-17 in overtime, with kicker Jeff Hall nailing the game-winning field goal to give the Vols their first victory over Florida since 1992. Tennessee never looked back from there, finishing the year with an undefeated 13-0 record and as the national champions.
When Peyton Manning departed the Tennessee program for the NFL following the 1997 season, the Vols entered the 1998 season ranked #10 in the country but questions remained about how Tennessee would fare at the quarterback position.
Quarterback Tee Martin grabbed the reins of the offense and never let go. Wide receiver Peerless Price pulled in 65 catches for 1,119 yards and 11 scores across the season as Martin’s top target while the 3-headed rushing monster of Travis Henry, Travis Stephens and Jamal Lewis racked up yards on the ground.
In the Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, Wilson powered through injuries to provide a team-high 9 tackles, holding the #2 Florida State offense to just 253 yards of total offense. Price broke a Tennessee bowl game record by hauling in 199 receiving yards and the Vols defeated the Seminoles 23-16 to become national champions.
About Tennessee Homemade Wines
Raised and nurtured by the Smoky Mountains, the founders of Tennessee Homemade Wines are local Gatlinburg folk with a passion for producing Tennessee sweet wines. Using local recipes, fresh fruits, local craftsmen and southern hospitality, we take pride in making wines that reflect the way of life in the Smoky Mountains.
Stop by our locations in Gatlinburg and Sevierville for free samples of our tasty wines and a great time with friends and family. You won’t find wines like these anywhere else!
We hope you’ll celebrate Tennessee’s 1998 national championship team with Big Orange Sangria the next time you prepare to cheer on the Vols! Big Orange Sangria is just the start of an extensive list of delicious wines we’re proud to offer at Tennessee Homemade Wines!