Trail Blazers

CJ McCollum dominates on the court and in the vineyard

Trail Blazers

CJ McCollum is one of the best shooting guards in the NBA. 

He has been the Blazers starting shooting guard since 2015 and has averaged at least 20 points per game every year since.

This past season he had one of the best years of his career, averaging 22.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.4 assists per game. 

We all know McCollum is a star. What we didn't know is that behind the scenes McCollum was attempting to take over the wine game. 

Back in June, McCollum debuted his hard work with a tease for Heritage 91, a wine of his own making.

The wine hit the market on September 15th. It sold out in minutes, and with that McCollum became the hottest young winemaker in the Willamette Valley.

McCollum paired with Newberg's Adelsheim Vineyard to learn the ropes, a process he says was quite the ride.

"I knew I wanted to be involved with wine from an educational standpoint," McCollum said on the latest episode of the Talkin' Blazers podcast. "I wanted to learn more about it. I kind of fell into that loophole of -- it's good, I don't know enough, I want to know more."

We have all been there with some interests of our own.

You jump on YouTube or Wikipedia to answer a quick question and next thing you know you are so far down the rabbit hole that an hour has passed and you didn't even know it. 

 

That's how McCollum was with wine information. Finding it wherever he could and taking it all in.

"You start getting more information about it. You start watching TV shows. You start researching. You start staying later at the vineyards than you normally would. You start reading the back of labels and then you kind of start educating yourself. I don't wanna just drink the wine, I want to know how it's made. I wanna know the entire process of it. I wanna know the business of wine. What goes into buying grapes, how long it takes, the entire process."

Armed with the knowledge of what really goes into making a bottle of fine wine, and with Adelsheim Vineyard by his side, McCollum made the transition from wine drinker to a winemaker. 

Being a true businessman, McCollum knew he wasn't making a wine for himself, he was making a wine for the people.

What I like may not be someone else's favorite, but I found a very unique taste that I thought was smooth, I felt was unique to Oregon wine, and I felt it was a representative of my wine process.

 

CJ McCollum on Heritage 91

For those lucky enough to get their hands on a bottle, you get a rare chance to enjoy the creative process brought to life by the mind of your favorite Trail Blazer.

For those that didn't grab a bottle, you can only hope that McCollum makes a few more bottles available in the future, and even better, another batch of new wine is in the making as we speak.  

From the hardwood to the vineyards, McCollum is truly a master of his craft. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon and special guest CJ McCollum].