The word “legacy” has serious significance for CJ McCollum. The 29-year-old shooting guard for the Portland Trail Blazers strives for legacy on and off the basketball court — recently launching his own wine label, McCollum Heritage 91 in partnership with Adelsheim Vineyard. The inaugural release — a 2018 Pinot Noir from Chehalem Mountains — is now available and reveals the professional athlete’s love of wine and dedication to legacy.

“Leaving a legacy is so important to me, as I hope my fans and followers see through my work,” McCollum said in a press release. “This wine brand is a reflection of me bringing my passions to life and honoring my family name in the process.”

After tasting this new release — which is ripe, rich and ready to rock right now — we pinged the Ohio native with a few questions to learn more about his affinity for Oregon wine.

1) How did you get into wine? What do you love most about Oregon wine?

I was introduced to wine in my early 20s by my now fiancée Elise. Then, my fortuitous move to one of the top wine regions in the U.S. took my existing passion — and knowledge of — wine to new heights. I’ve had the opportunity to immerse myself in the Willamette Valley, and Pinot Noir has earned a special place in my heart.

2) You speak about legacy in regards to this wine – other than the name, what is the connection to that?

While leaving a legacy has always been greatly important to me, the circumstances of the last several months have reaffirmed my devotion to showing up, both on-and-off the basketball court. McCollum Heritage 91 represents an extension of the passions and commitments I want to share as I honor the people, places and causes that mean the most to me.

3) Why did you choose to partner with Adelsheim for the wine?

Adelsheim’s roots run deep in the wine community, and together we share similar beliefs about wine: it should taste great, it should be approachable and it should be enjoyed with those you love. I wouldn’t have been able to bring McCollum Heritage 91 to life without the care and expertise I received from the team at Adelsheim. I’m truly grateful for this partnership. 

4) What is your favorite pairing with this wine?

My favorite pairing would be my grandma Fanny’s soul food or a Swensons Galley Boy hamburger.