The NBA wine squad has picked up another megastar: James Harden. The Philadelphia 76ers shooting guard and 10-time NBA All-Star has announced a partnership with Jam Shed Wines to release a California Cabernet Sauvignon and red blend.
The famously bearded California native, 32, says team dinners and card games helped turn him into a wine lover (Harden’s Houston Rockets teammates included dedicated wine lovers Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul; former Rockets owner Leslie Alexander also formerly owned a vineyard and founded Long Island’s Société du Vin wine club). Harden says he’s been considering wine business opportunities for a few years, and he finally pulled the trigger with Jam Shed, part of Australia's Accolade Wines portfolio, to create the J-Harden x J-Shed brand.
"J-Shed is one of the top brands in Europe, and I believe through this partnership, J-Harden wine can be one of the top brands starting in the U.S. and beyond," Harden told Wine Spectator via email. "It comes down to the people, and Accolade and J-Shed have incredible winemakers and a team in place to make this as big as possible."
"We began talking to James' team around a year ago," said Enrique Morgan, Accolade’s managing director of the Americas. "The project has moved extremely fast, and James has been involved in every step of the way, from the packaging direction to the wine profile to ultimately selecting the final blend." Morgan anticipates rolling out 100,000 cases of J-Harden x J-Shed ($17 per bottle) within a year.
The label is center court for Harden, and it's a big part of how he plans to stand out on retail shelves. The J-Harden label features his iconic bearded silhouette in a brightly colored floral pattern. "I want my label to have swag and stand out, and I want it to match my personality so when you line it up next to other wines, it pops,” says the NBA fashion icon. “Then you'll fall in love with how it tastes."
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