Booze | April 26, 2021 11:00 am

CJ McCollum Is at the Forefront of the NBA’s Love of Wine

The next McCollum Heritage 91 wine is due on May 1

Boston Celtics v Portland Trail Blazers
CJ McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers handles the ball against Kemba Walker of the Boston Celtics.
Abbie Parr/Getty Images

An interesting thing happened in the last few years: a whole lot of NBA players embraced a love of noteworthy food and drink. This has manifested in a number of ways, from a culinarily-distinctive list of restaurants approved for team dinners during the pandemic to a growing appreciation for great wine among the league’s players. During last year’s bubble, CJ McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers emerged as one of the NBA’s biggest wine enthusiasts — no small accomplishment, that.

McCollum isn’t just an advocate for noteworthy wines, though. He’s also gotten involved in their creation. A new article by Jeremy Repanich at Robb Report describes McCollum’s growing love of wine — and how he came to work with an Oregon winery to create a series of distinctive bottles.

Some of that is serendipitous: if you’re a basketball player who wants to be based near a number of great wineries, playing in Portland is a pretty ideal scenario. Working with Adelsheim Vineyard, described in a 2018 New York Times article as “one of the pioneers of the modern Oregon wine industry,” McCollum and Adelsheim collaborated to create McCollum Heritage 91, which first saw wide release within the NBA’s bubble last year. (Kawhi Leonard is a fan.) The next McCollum Heritage 91 wine to be released is a 2019 Chardonnay, slated to go on sale on May 1.

For his part, McCollum sees plenty of similarities between playing basketball and making wine. “There’s a lot of parallels between sports and people in the wine industry because you want to perfect your sport, but it never truly happens,” he told Robb Report. “You get really good at it, but there’s still some things that you may not know.” With that sense of constant evolution in mind, it’s intriguing to see what McCollum will come up with next.