As with all professional players, Channing Frye had to ask himself the question of what he was going to do with his daily life after having punctuated it with the sound of the orange ball for 14 seasons at the highest level.
The encounters he was able to make during these years but also his career led him to a budding passion. Alongside his activities as a consultant for NBA TV and his “Road Trippin Show” podcast, Channing Frye has therefore decided to invest in wine.
“As a human being, it was like coal on my fire, to keep my train moving”, he told The Athletic. “Being able to talk to my friends, being able to put the phone down, really enjoying each other’s conversations… Wine is, of all drinks, the most conversational drink. You and I can sit down and talk about it. It can give rise to hundreds of different conversations, between the taste, the aspect, the place where you bought it, what it reminds you of…”.
When friends become family
Already towards the end of his career, wine became a recurring subject in the locker room, particularly in Cleveland, where this new passion helped him, for example, to overcome the deaths of his parents a month apart at the start of the 2016/17 season.
“That year, the guys knew I was hurt…broken. And again, we got back to the things that made me happy. I was having great dinners, laughing, joking, drinking a glass of wine, and they became even more of my chosen family”he added. “My friends have become my family.”
In 2020, he teamed up with Kevin Love and two others to found Chosen Family Wineswith a name in a nod to this “family” that accompanied her through this difficult time.
The idea was to start producing and marketing their own wine, but in collaboration with winery owners based in Oregon and California.
For the moment, the idea is not yet to own vineyards, the goal being to continue this daily exchange and this apprenticeship with real professionals, enthusiasts, who have also become close friends.
“It was to allow me and Kevin and I to use our aura to not only tell our story, but also to tell theirs.”he continued. “Because, number one, we love you as a human being. You make delicious wines, and it’s a magnificent region that we want to showcase. People thought we were crazy because they thought we were promoting another product. But I answer them: ‘Yes, but isn’t that the very essence of wine? It is not a competition. Nobody drinks the same wine every night.
The pandemic has allowed him to fully invest in laying the foundations for this new project. In the first year, “Chosen Family Wines” sold 850 cases of wine. This year, the company has evolved rather well since it could sell more than 5,500!
Sharing and forwarding
As for the career, it turns out that his two years spent in Portland (2007-2009) as well as his end of the 2017/18 season in Los Angeles developed his taste for wine. He, who grew up in the desert plains of Arizona, discovered the joys of the winemaking process and fell in love with this universe.
His goal is also to democratize this universe in the United States and to build bridges with his family. In a word, help make wine more popular with everyone in the United States.
“Black people aren’t necessarily educated or raised with wine at home. It’s not a common thing. It is sometimes a luxury product. And then people in the wine industry live in outskirts of Oregon and don’t know how to communicate to bring black people into the industry. So there is a discrepancy.”he pointed out. “The bridge is being built, one brick at a time.”