Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum is expanding his reach in the wine industry.
Last year, the point guard quickly found success after releasing his own wine label, McCollum Heritage 91, with his wife Elise. According to Food & Wine, his first bottling, a 2018 Pinot Noir produced with grapes from the Chehalem Mountains in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, took less than an hour to sell out.
Now the ballplayer has purchased a vineyard to ensure he’s able to continue producing his seemingly very popular wine.
“It’s been just over a year since we announced the McCollum Heritage 91 label, but for far longer Elise and I have had the privilege of exploring various vineyard sites throughout the Willamette Valley,” McCollum told Food & Wine this month.
“As we explored the long-term vision of McCollum Heritage 91 and beyond, we truly craved enhancing our sense of place, which is represented by the acquisition of this beautiful property.”
The couple hasn’t quite figured out a name for their new 318-acre property located in the Willamette Valley’s Yamhill-Carlton AVA, just located west of the Chehalem Mountains. However, impressive features about the land include a five-acre reservoir, multiple micro-climates, several irrigation ponds, a rock quarry and a nursery, the publication reported.
Executive director of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association’s Morgen McLaughlin, spoke highly of the couple and their purchase of the property stating “it further affirms the region’s reputation for quality.”
McLaughlin added “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.”
Planning is reportedly still in the beginning stages, but the pair are slated to start laying out the vineyard by 2022. They will work with Willamette Valley vineyard experts to “plant the best clones to match the land’s profile.” Specific plans for the property and information about programming will be released at a later date.
McCollum apparently is the first NBA player to purchase a vineyard. His love for wine —which he credits to wife — is serious, as he explained to Wine Spectator: “I have big goals and big aspirations to turn this into a world-class vineyard with world-class wine.”