PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Seven wineries in the Willamette Valley have banded together to help increase diversity in the wine industry through what they’re calling a “One Barrel Challenge.”
Channing Frye played for several NBA teams, including the Portland Trail Blazers in 2007 and 2008. But these days, he’s scoring points for making strides in the wine industry.
“For me, one thing I noticed was there weren’t a lot of people that looked like me so for me, it was like, if my sons or daughters or cousins or whatever wanted to be in this industry, they don’t have a point of reference,” he said.
Frye started Chosen Family Wines in collaboration with L’Angolo Estate in Newberg. He said his label is one of just 70 Black-owned wine businesses in the entire country and he and business partner Jacob Gray want that to change.
“We started saying how can we challenge ourselves and peers and those around us to make some really cool wines and donate 100% of the proceeds to help you fulfill some of those questions,” said Gray.
Frye and Gray came up with the One Barrel Challenge and asked other wineries to donate a barrel of wine — about 300 bottles worth of wine — with all of the proceeds going to help people of color get into the industry.
Seven wineries are now on board, including Trail Blazers star CJ McCollum with his McCollum Heritage wine.
With this first challenge, the money will be donated to the Maurice Lucas Foundation — founded by another former Trail Blazers player — which helps provide underserved youth with opportunities.
“Playing in the NBA is one of the most inclusive, diverse businesses in the world and I don’t know why the wine industry can’t be that,” said Frye.
The wine from the One Barrel Challenge goes on sale May 1.