NBA star Chris Paul invests in a Var rosé he wants to spread on the American market

One of the best passers in NBA history has just joined a new team. That of the « stars » who invest in the vineyard. As with his good friend Tony Parker, who has been associated with Château La Mascaronne du Luc since this year, and with whom he was still talking on the phone the day before, it is a question of betting on an AOP Côtes de Provence. Not just any since Château Saint-Maur de Cogolin, owned since 2011 by the man who built his fortune in the children’s fashion sector, Roger Zannier (ex-Kickers, Z, Tartine & Chocolat, IKKS, Chippie… ), is one of the exceptional terroirs of the appellation, along with a beautifully renovated château.

It is in one of its shady outbuildings that we find Chris Paul, nicknamed CP3, seated with his family alongside the man who created the Fête du Rosé brand, Donae Burston, a visionary entrepreneur whose ambition is to make the best-selling rosé on the US market. And much more!

How did you land in the Var vineyards?

I met Donae during the first pandemic in 2020 and shared her wine with my basketball friends on the sidelines of the NBA Bubble where we were confined to the Disney site in Orlando. I who am a great wine lover, Donae immediately seduced me with his knowledge and his speech of wanting to democratize the consumption of rosé from Provence to a wider audience from minorities. We are both very involved in this cause which of course has no place among the French for whom rosé is obvious, where for us it can be « intimidating », because it is considered a luxury product. !

What markets are you targeting?

First establish ourselves in the American market. This is the genesis of the product and next year the United Kingdom and many other countries afterwards (the wine is also on sale in the cellar of the estate and on the menu of certain restaurants in the Gulf, Editor’s note).

Are you a sort of ambassador for other athletes who would like to invest in rosé de Provence?

I am attacking my 18th season in the NBA, which in itself is a blessing. During all this time, I was able to grow as a professional athlete and learn. On the wine side, I started with Riesling. I must have been twenty years old, I didn’t know much about it and for me it was a « treat »! (laughs) The idea is, like Donae did for me, to show the way for young players who look like me, to make them understand that they too can play a role in an industry that they appreciate. Nothing excites me more than sitting here today contemplating this terroir and learning more about the story behind La Fête du Rosé, after its discovery in the United States in 2020. It all makes sense now!

Is this visit part of a French vacation?

Yes, it’s a change from last summer when I was recovering from wrist surgery! There, I am surrounded by my wife, my thirteen-year-old son and my nine-year-old daughter. It is rare to have this time for us. We are on board a boat, also with my older brother, for a tour of the Mediterranean. Thanks to this stopover, I finally discovered Saint-Tropez at the age of 37. I savor every minute!

Did you discuss all this with Tony Parker, also invested in the Var vineyard?

Absolutely! He returns this week from Las Vegas. He was kind of a mentor to me when I was in high school. Today we have the same agent! Congratulations to his Asvel team who won their third consecutive French championship title against Monaco recently!

« Healthy » food, digital, finance, audiovisual production, etc. You have already invested in around twenty businesses and in a number of sectors. Other diversifications on the horizon?

I am very open. But beyond that, as with wine, it is above all a question of opening doors and that these products or contents convey a message: that everyone considers the other as their equal.

When does training resume?

Another week of vacation and then I’m going back to the States, but I’m training every day on the yacht right now! The start of the season with the Suns is set for late September, early October. Thank goodness I feel in dazzling shape to continue in top-level sport. The time for retirement has not come!

An idea of ​​your life after?

Like Tony, I would like to have my professional basketball team. Having been president of the players’ union (the NBPA) for eight years allowed me to learn all the workings of business in the NBA. So I’m ready!

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