How an Ex-N.B.A. Player Is Diversifying Wine One Sip at a Time

When Channing Frye retired in 2019 after 15 years as a solid power forward in the N.B.A., he was at loose ends. With no long-term plans, he said, he began to feel depressed.

“My wife said, ‘What do you love?’ I said, ‘I love people and I love wine.’ I could become a party planner or I could go into wine.”

Mr. Frye chose wine. He established a label, Chosen Family Wines, based in Oregon, where he had settled with his wife, Lauren, after playing for the Portland Trail Blazers early in his career. His partners include Kevin Love, his former teammate with the Cleveland Cavaliers, who is still playing, now with the Miami Heat.

The N.B.A. has had in recent years an intense connection to wine. Mr. Frye is one of many current and former players who’ve gone into the wine business, including Dwyane Wade, Tony Parker, Carmelo Anthony, CJ McCollum, Josh Hart and others. LeBron James and Gregg Popovich, the coach of the San Antonio Spurs, are serious connoisseurs who’ve turned many in the league on to wine.

Mr. Frye walks a vineyard in Dundee, Ore., with Ayla Holstein, one of Chosen Family’s winemakers.Credit…Celeste Noche for The New York Times

But what sets Chosen Family Wine apart is its commitment — its mission, really — to bringing wine to communities that have long been neglected by the wine industry. While some companies have made efforts to bring people of color into already existing corporate structures, Chosen Family set about meeting people on their own terms to introduce them to wine in comfortable and familiar contexts.

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