At a news conference at the Jewish National Fund House on Feb. 20, former NBA star Amar’e Stoudemire, who played for the Suns for eight years, effused over his new line of kosher-for-Passover wines produced in Israel.
“It’s a blessing for me and my family to be able to produce such great wines from a land like the land of Israel, so we’re constantly counting our blessings for that,” Stoudemire told reporters.
Stoudemire’s interest in his own Israeli wine label began when he relocated to Israel to play for Israel’s Hapoel Jerusalem team in 2016. He retired from basketball the following year, but remains a part-owner of the team.
Stoudemire, who was raised Christian, began exploring Judaism on a trip to Israel in 2010, and stated that he felt “spiritually Jewish, culturally Jewish.”
He identifies with the Hebrew Israelites, an African-American group that believes they are descendants of the biblical Israelites and keeps some Jewish practices.
Stoudemire’s line includes two red-wine blends and one Cabernet Sauvignon — all limited-edition vintages produced in cooperation with the Tulip Winery in northern Israel.
“I prefer to keep the wines strictly from the grapes in Israel,” Stoudemire told reporters. “It’s my way of giving back to the land. I try to do what I can to stay rooted.”
Stoudemire said he is open to producing additional wines, but will only do so in Israel. JN