How CJ McCollum became a wine connoisseur
Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum is known for his ankle-breaking crossovers and a smooth jumper on the court.
Just like the state of Oregon is known for having a unique and rich soil that makes for a tasty pinot noir red wine.
Where did his love for Oregon pinot noirs get started and what’s next for the winemaker? Swipe through to find out!
HOW HE GOT INTO WINE
“My fiancé actually introduced me to wine in college and that was the start of the snowball effect of me continuing to want to learn more about it, continuing to want to educate myself more on wine and as we progressed in our relationship, I ended up moving out here to Oregon. Hit the lottery with Pinot Noir out here in Oregon and was able to taste so many different varieties and go to so many different vineyards. As we aged, I guess my pallet aged as well.” -- CJ McCollum
McCollum went to college on the other end of the country at Lehigh University, a private research university in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
FIRST EXPERIENCE DRINKING WINE
“I didn’t like it the first time. I felt like it was bland. I’m a guy that enjoys lemonade. Part of the reason why I didn’t like it was because of my lack of wine experience. We weren’t really drinking great wine, so to speak. You come out here in Oregon and it’s so diverse. You have so many different types of grapes, you have so many different vineyards who provide pinot noir from different types of soil. We’re actually spoiled.” -- CJ McCollum
DECISION TO GET INTO WINE-MAKING
“We just had some conversations and I think my agency got to the point where they were like, ‘How deep do you want to dive into this?’ Ashley in the agency did a great job aligning me with like-minded partners. Adelsheim was a partner who believed in education, they believe in a collaborative effort of figuring out what I want to do and what I want to see from my product.” -- CJ McCollum
THE NAME AND THE LABEL DESIGN
“That was a really, really tough process. It was interesting. Obviously I wanted to have my name involved in it just due to the lineage and heritage. By looking at ‘Heritage’ it’s funny because that’s the street I grew up on which was really ironic and I’m just really big on understanding where you come from and really trying to recognize that. The flowers are the Anthurium flower. They are Elise’s [McCollum’s fiancee] favorite flower. Since she introduced me to the wine, it was kind of a nod to her and our relationship. And the ’91’ is both our birth years.” -- CJ McCollum