James Harden’s wines have ‘no rules’ — you can enjoy them however you wish.
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Wine may not be the first drink that comes to mind when you’re with your friends, kicking back to watch a game. We get it. After all, wine is not exactly the most approachable drink on any menu, especially when you think about the terms you might often hear from wine drinkers — aeration, nose, tannins, wine legs. But James Harden is taking a different approach to wine drinking with his own bottles.
Winemaking company Accolade Wines, together with the 10-time NBA All-Star himself, launched J-Harden Wines in 2022. And when it first entered the market, Harden made sure of one thing: he wanted people to understand that his was a “line of affordable wines” open to anyone.
“I’m trying to open doors to make people who don’t feel comfortable drinking wine feel like they can order wine when they’re going to dinner. So it’s just about opening the doors for everybody,” Harden said in an interview with Rolling Stone.
Although the J-Harden Wine collection is not yet available in retail in the Philippines (emphasis on yet), we got the chance to try the wines ourselves recently at Manila Uncorked 2023, a wine event organized by the Philippine Sommelier Association.
Here’s what we thought.
An easy-to-drink wine
At Manila Uncorked, an event for wine suppliers to showcase their collections, guests are spoiled for choice. Guests walk around with their glasses, tasting various wines, and speaking to suppliers about the complex flavors of each bottle.
Because of this, I felt compelled to ask John Sicat, the Sales Manager of Accolade Wines, to describe the taste of the wine, to which he simply replied, “What James Harden wants to happen with the wines is for people to drink it with no rules. It’s an approachable wine, your everyday kind of wine, it’s not too high-brow.”
Sure enough, this is what the J-Harden Wines taste like — no frills, just your simple bottle of red.
I got to try both the Red Wine and Cabernet Sauvignon, and both leaned on the sweeter side with their jammy and tart flavors, making them very approachable red wines, especially for those who are just getting into the whole wine-drinking scene. With this, they make for great wines you can drink while having a casual dinner at home, or when you’re at a party with friends, or even for a wine-based cocktail. In fact, one of my first thoughts was that the red wine would be great for a refreshing sangria. Even the packaging is very playful and casual, much like Harden himself.
So if the NBA All-Star’s goal was to create a bottle you can drink with ‘no rules’, he was definitely able to do this, having been a huge part of the development of the brand.
“James Harden himself is involved in the wine-making process,” Sicat further explained. “The design, the label, the wine itself — James Harden had a handle on all of it.”
With J-Harden Wines, Harden is doing what he set out to do, which is to bring wine drinking to a bigger audience, such as the basketball community around the world. In fact, basketball fans in China bought 10,000 bottles of his wines in just seconds after promoting it on an online live stream just last month.
Although J-Harden Wines are not yet available in retail in the Philippines, it looks like this collection will be hitting a bigger audience soon. And who knows? Maybe this could be a new go-to for basketball fans who crave a drink while watching games.
Banner image from J-Harden Wines on Instagram.