Oenophile CJ McCollum keeps hotel room at frigid 50 to 60 degrees for his wine
Portland Trail Blazers star CJ McCollum is a known and respected oenophile in NBA circles, and his love of wine is causing him to take some interesting measures down in the league’s restart in the Orlando, Fla., bubble.
A deep dive by Baxter Holmes of ESPN into player life in the NBA bubble highlights how widespread wine culture is among NBA players at the Walt Disney World Resort.
“You notice [wine-related packages] a lot during the day as they come in,” says Heather Messer, who is handling shipping and administration in the NBA bubble.
While McCollum has over 600 bottles in his wine cellar back in Portland, the Blazers guard has a more modest collection of 84 bottles — mostly Oregon pinot noir — at the Walt Disney Resort.
To make sure the wine remains in pristine condition, McCollum keeps the bottles out of direct sunlight. Another precaution being taken by McCollum is cranking down the A.C. in his hotel room to keep it between a teeth-chattering 50 and 60 degrees. However, McCollum does admit to kicking up the thermostat a few degrees when he’s actually in the room.
“If you’re in my hotel and you happen to be by the pool, you’ll be able to partake in whatever I’m drinking that day,” McCollum said. “If it’s during the daytime it’ll probably be some bubbly. If it’s at nighttime, it’s probably pinot.”
McCollum said he sees players chatting over glasses of wine — socially distanced, of course — in the bubble. He said it helps alleviate the isolation many players are feeling being away from friends and family.
“Other than [basketball activities], you’re in your room at least half the day, if you include sleep,” McCollum said. “You’re in your room a lot.”
McCollum is not the only wine lover on the Blazers, either, as Carmelo Anthony may be the most esteemed and learned oenophile in the NBA. McCollum is obviously no slouch, of course, and he recently released his own McCollum Heritage 91, an Oregon pinot noir he had bottled.