Trail Blazers

CJ McCollum the basketball player vs. CJ McCollum the winemaker

Trail Blazers

This year, Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum not only showed off his strong mid-range game; he proved he has a strong wine game as well.

McCollum confirmed that his first signature wine ‘McCollum Heritage 91’ sold out in 45 minutes on Spet. 15 with a big smile on his face while joining Maryann Worobiec of Wine Spectator this week for Straight Talk, a chat series on the @wine_spectator Instagram Live.

The Trail Blazers shooting guard teamed up with Adelsheim Vineyard in Newberg, OR to partner with the vineyard in producing his inaugural wine, which was harvested in late Sept. of 2018 and then was bottled on Aug. 8, 2019.

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Not only did McCollum discuss why Pinot Noir is his favorite, but he also added that he tells young NBA players that drinking Pinot means no hangovers for the next day’s practices and workouts.  

That’s not the only reason he enjoys pinot noir, but that does help!

 

It’s something I’m more familiar with. It’s something that I’ve tasted more than other wines.

CJ McCollum ​​​​​​​

It was back in late June when CJ shared his excitement of introducing his signature wine on his Instagram.

His Pinot Noir features hints of cedar and cherry.

But as McCollum talked more about venturing into the wine industry, he compared being a winemaker to being an NBA player.

This may surprise some, but there are quite a few correlations between the two. 

There are a lot of similarities to both of them. Obviously, the teamwork aspect is extremely important and for me, I think it’s important that you know what your strengths are and also are aware enough to understand your weaknesses.

“For me, I don’t know a lot about wine,” McCollum added. “I’ve continued to learn more and more about it, but being able to empower other people, being able to trust people, I think that takes you to the next level, that’s the same thing that goes for sport -- if you’re not a great screen setter -- you need someone to be able to set screens, if you’re not a great defender -- you need someone to be able to defend, you need great leadership.”

[RELATED]: How CJ McCollum became a wine connoisseur

The 29-year-old reiterated how he's learned about the various similarities between his two jobs.

There’s a lot of similarities from a teamwork standpoint to an execution standpoint to a preparation standpoint  -- preparing, trying to figure out the label, trying to figure out the design, the price point, when you release it, how do you release it… There’s a lot of things that go into that.

After the Trail Blazers drafted McCollum in 2013 as the 10th overall pick, he eventually fell in love with the prominent Oregon Pinot Noir and now while he continues to learn the ins and outs of winemaking, he’ll continue to break opponents ankles too.

It sounds like you can have your wine and drink it too!

The best news: McCollum teased his 2019 Pinot “that might be in the works.”

Yes, CJ, YES!  

For moreon Wine Spectator’s Straight Talk series and a full schedule check out WineSpectator.com.