Blazers guard CJ McCollum debuts signature wine
Since moving to Portland after being drafted by the Trail Blazers in 2013, CJ McCollum has become a wine connoisseur, and it is now an integral part of his off-court life.
McCollum took his passion a step further on June 25 with the announcement of his own signature pinot noir, McCollum Heritage 91, produced by Adelsheim Vineyard in Newberg. Bottled in 2018 and derived from the Chehalem Mountains, McCollum's wine will be available for sale this fall.
"After being introduced to wine in my early 20s by my now fiancee Elise, my fortuitous move to one of the top wine regions in the U.S. took my existing passion for — and knowledge of — wine to new heights," McCollum said in a news release. "I've had the opportunity to immerse myself in the Willamette Valley, and pinot noir has earned a special place in my heart. With the introduction of McCollum Heritage 91, I hope basketball fans and wine lovers alike will appreciate this bottle as much as I enjoyed the process of bringing it to them."
McCollum is ingratiating himself in a wine culture that spans across the NBA. San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is known for his love of Oregon wines and is a part owner of Rex Hill Vineyards in Newberg. McCollum's teammate, Carmelo Anthony, hosts interview segments on Instagram called "What's in Your Glass?" where he discusses a variety of topics with athletes and celebrities over a glass of wine.
Superstars like Dwyane Wade and LeBron James have professed their love of wine, too, particularly Oregon pinots. But McCollum is one of the first among his NBA colleagues to have his own signature wine, and he was directly involved in the process with his partners at Adelsheim.
Alongside Adelsheim winemaker Gina Hennen, McCollum "refined his own wine preferences" and developed a pinot that best fits his tastes and personality, creating his vintage as an homage to his fiancee and his background. McCollum learned the inner workings of winemaking and absorbed the sights, smells and feel of what it takes to produce the wines he's come to love.
McCollum helped develop the brand, label, logo, packaging, marketing and communications aspects of the wine, too.
"Leaving a legacy is so important to me, as I hope my fans and followers see through my work both on and off the basketball court," McCollum said in the release. "This wine brand is a reflection of me bringing my passions to life and honoring my family name in the process."
The word "Heritage" in the wine's name is a nod to the street McCollum grew up on in Canton, Ohio, and "91" is the year he was born, 1991.
McCollum Heritage 91 will be available for purchase from Adelsheim at $50 per bottle starting Sept. 15. The wine has its own website, mccollumheritage91.com, where interested patrons can add themselves to an email list about the wine's availability, purchase the wine in the future, and learn more about McCollum's partnership with Adelsheim.
Additional vintages of the McCollum Heritage 91 are expected in the future, including next spring. For now, Adelsheim is focused on promoting the first edition of the basketball star's wine and informing Oregonians of its complex tasting notes. McCollum, meanwhile, is preparing for the NBA season's upcoming restart in Orlando, Florida, all while enjoying a regular glass of pinot and keeping up with the promotion of his signature vintage.
"We had a great time working side-by-side with CJ, creating this unique wine," Hennen said. "It's always fun to learn someone else's palate, and, in CJ's case, we were able to craft a wine to suit him — one drawn from his favored volcanic soils, with elegance, style and a smooth sensibility."
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