When it comes to his wine brand, NBA star and vintner CJ McCollum and his wife, Elise, came to play. The couple have purchased a 318-acre property, located in Oregon's Yamhill-Carlton appellation, for the Portland Trail Blazer's McCollum Heritage 91 wine label. The purchase price and identity of the seller were not disclosed.
The deal is part of the McCollums' long-term commitment to making world-class wines in Oregon, a process they started when they partnered with Adelsheim Vineyard to produce McCollum Heritage 91, which debuted last year with a 2018 Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir.
"After careful consideration and learning throughout my time at Adelsheim, it felt like it was the right decision and the next step in our progression to grow and leave our lasting legacy here," McCollum told Wine Spectator. "We'll be meeting with architects and going over vineyard management plans in terms of what we want to plant first and what our future looks like, but the goal is to turn it into a vineyard property."
McCollum consulted his trusted wine circle before making the purchase, including Stoller president Gary Mortensen, Corner 103 founder Lloyd Davis, Adelsheim winemaker Gina Hennen and Adelsheim CEO Rob Alstrin. He aims to start planting in 2022.
"When you hear that innovative, giving, talented and creative people like CJ and Elise make a commitment to the Willamette Valley, it just further affirms the region's reputation for quality," said Morgen McLaughlin, executive director of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association. "CJ has been a wonderful ambassador for Oregon, through basketball, his local philanthropic efforts and now his interest in making top-quality wines from the Willamette Valley."