NEWBERG, Ore. — CJ McCollum has been very busy in quarantine. Since the NBA season was postponed back in March, the Trail Blazers shooting guard has gotten a new puppy, made a lot of delicious food with his fiancé, and of course, done a lot of at-home workouts.
And now, he's releasing his own wine label with Adelsheim Vineyard.
"I'm excited about the McCollum Heritage 91, in partnership with Adelsheim," said McCollum. "It's been a long time coming. It's not like we just put this together overnight; we've been working on this for over a year. So that's been the exciting part, to see the beginning process, the steps we had to take, from the tasting to meeting with the winemaker, Gina, to kind of going over my taste profile, to the actual designing process of the name, who we were gonna use as the designer, what colors. There's just so much that goes into it that you don't truly appreciate until you see it and experience it."
CJ - who named the wine after the street he grew up on (Heritage) and the year he was born (1991) - is a self-proclaimed wine connoisseur.
"I give myself random tests here or there. We do taste tests, blind taste tests at certain wineries, sometimes Elise might pick something from the cellar and I'll try to guess what it is."
Of course, when it comes to his own wine label, there's no guessing involved for CJ.
"First and foremost I would say that it tastes marvelous. And this is no bias, it's what people have told me," said McCollum.
CJ says the 2018 Pinot Noir has notes of cherry and cedar.
"I truly do enjoy it, I think it pairs well with a lot of things. It's so smooth, it's light on the body. And historically, after drinking the McCollum Heritage 91 there's been no hangover, which is very very vital and important during these quarantine days. Especially if you want to make it to your workout on time."
So if CJ could share a bottle of his brand new wine with anyone in the world, who would it be? Who would he "cheers" with over Zoom?
He couldn't pick just one person when we asked, but here are his top picks, in no particular order:
- Michael Jordan
- Allen Iverson
- Ken Griffey Jr.
- The Obamas
- Will Smith
- Jada Pinkett Smith
"You got all these different people, then you have one of the greatest Zoom calls ever!"
If you want to try the McCollum Heritage 91, you'll have to wait until September when it's released. But you can sign up to get on the list now on the wine label's website.
"Great things happen in September," said McCollum. "And with that being said, I hope everyone's quarantine is going as great as it can be."
As for CJ, he'll be heading to Orlando soon to resume the NBA season with the Portland Trail Blazers on July 31. He's looking forward to being back with his teammates, but "obviously, there's a lot going on in the world, there's a lot going on in Florida specifically with the spike in [COVID-19] cases ... So you have to think about all those things, and try to make the best of the situation."
"All else fails during the quarantine, I know we'll be stuck in our room for 24 to 48 hours, I will have some company," he said, holding up a bottle of the McCollum Heritage 91.