CJ McCollum, of NBA team Portland Trail Blazers, has bought a 129ha (318 acres) vineyard property in Oregon’s Willamette Valley with his wife, Elise.
While the property hasn’t been named, it lies in the Yamhill Carlton American Viticultural Area (AVA) and borders the highly regarded Resonance Vineyard.
CJ McCollum is one of several NBA stars who enjoys tasting and collecting fine wine away from the basketball court, as he described to Decanter following the launch of his McCollum Heritage 91 brand.
With a two-hectare reservoir (five acres), several irrigation ponds and a nursery on-site, the McCollums said this week they have a long-term vision to create a vineyard capable of producing world-class wines.
‘This is wholly undeveloped land,’ a spokesperson for McCollum told Decanter this week.
The couple said they plan to begin laying out the vineyard in 2022, and they plan to work with experts to identify the best clones for particular sites on the property.
‘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,’ said CJ McCollum this week.
‘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.’
For now, McCollum Heritage 91 wines will continue to be produced at Adelsheim Vineyard, where the NBA star worked with winemaker Gina Hennen to develop his own bespoke range. The first launch, a 2018-vintage Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir, reportedly sold out in less than one hour after making its debut in 2020.
News that the McCollums have become Willamette Valley vineyard owners is good for the region, 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,’ she said.
A 2020-vintage Willamette Valley rosé wine has also been released under the McCollum Heritage 91 label, plus a Chardonnay for the One Barrel Challenge initiative – with proceeds going to the Maurice Lucas Foundation – to support efforts to increase wine industry diversity.