March 23, 2016 12:00 PM

Wine Enthusiast

You might not automatically associate wine with NBA players, but Miami Heat superstar Dwyane Wade is looking to change that.

The NBA champion tells Wine Enthusiast in their new issue that his recently-discovered passion for wine is what inspired him to launch his own label, Wade Cellars.

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Wade, 34, partnered with wine connoisseur Jayson Pahlmeyer on the venture, and spent plenty of time touring vineyards and learning about the winemaking process before embarking on his own.

“So far, we’ve started slowly with an online presence,” he tells the magazine. “Hopefully we do way more than we’ve done now, but we have to make sure we do it the right way.”

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And if “the right way” happens to include tasting plenty of wines, well, it’s just another day for Wade.

Wine Enthusiast

“All of my friends that are 30 and up, a bottle of wine is what we go to when we sit down and have a conversation. When you’re younger, you’re totally different. Your conversations are different. Now, we sit down and drink wine and talk about investments.”

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But Wade Cellars — which offers a cabernet called Wade and a red blend called Three by Wade — is more than just another way for the basketball star to expand his brand. Wade is hoping that launching his own label will help inspire other members of the African-American community to embrace wine, too.

“I don’t think a lot of people understand wine. We have hard liquor and vodka pushed in our faces all the time,” he said. “That’s all we see, but wine hasn’t been shoved in our faces, so we’re not educated as such. I want to educate our culture, and hopefully, it takes off more.”

In the meantime, wine connoisseurs everywhere can rest assured that Wade will treat his wine company  with the same amount of enthusiasm and focus that he shows every single time he takes to the court.

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“I’ve been blessed and very successful in basketball and some of the things I’ve done off the court. If I’m going to do anything now at this age, it has to be something I’m really passionate about and something I want to spend time doing, not because it’s cool or it’s a check.”

—Julia Emmanuele

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