Professional basketball player Moe Harkless and The Prisoner Wine Company have announced a partnership inspired by the star athlete, as an avid wine connoisseur and his long-time love for ThePrisoner Wine Company brand. As a new partner of the bold and edgy winery, Harkless will amplify the brand in the world of basketball and pop culture through social media activations, interviews, a charitable donation that is close to both of them and more.
Moe began experimenting with and collecting wines from around the world at the age of 21. In the early days of the pandemic, Moe spent time discovering the many wines in The Prisoner Wine Company’s portfolio. He was impressed by the bold and unusual blends, artistic packaging and eclectic aesthetic. The Prisoner Wine Company team were equally big fans of Moe’s on and off the court and were thrilled to welcome a new brand fan into their fold. “Moe’s adventurous palate makes him a great fit for us, since we’re all about the bold and unexpected,” Director of Winemaking Chrissy Wittmann shared.
“I had heard people raving about The Prisoner Red Blend before and wanted to try it and immediately, the label caught my eye – it was so intriguing and made me grab it right away. It is a full-bodied red, that touches on all my favorite characteristics of a wine – dark fruit flavors with a long, smooth finish that almost melts in your mouth. After trying additional wines in the brand’s portfolio, my interest with the brand continued to grow. I heard how they were committed to giving back and helping in the community and felt like I had to jump on it. We share common goals to promote growth and hopefully we can take steps together to help accomplish that.” – Moe Harkless
“We’re proud to bring The Prisoner Wine Company’s portfolio of wines into Moe’s circle of friends, family and fans, as well as to support his efforts in the Black Lives Matter movement. The Prisoner Wine Company stands in solidarity with the fight against racism, and we believe we have a responsibility to use our platform to drive awareness and action in the fight for justice and equality.” – Chrissy Wittmann, Director of Winemaking.
Moe Harkless, a Puerto Rican, Jamaica Queens native and NBA star for the Miami Heat is an art collector, wine enthusiast, fashion + culture trendsetter, and social justice advocate. Not only is he an NBA star whose passions include art & creativity, but in the wake of Covid- 19 and George Floyd he is channeling his own creativity and utilizing his access to a wide audience of fans to launch an IG live quarantine show in partnership with Uninterrupted hosting “Wine Wednesdays” with other wine enthusiasts such as Amar’e Stoudemire and Sommelier Devin Reed, and has thrown his support behind black social justice initiatives and causes by launching his own black social impact resource platform ‘Black Lives Now’ with information on Black Owned Businesses in NYC and LA, Black Mental Health programs, Voting information, organizations and other interactive ways people can help the black community, Black owned restaurants, Black owned wine companies, books written by Black authors, Black music, Black contemporary artists and more. On the court, Harkless is a Small Forward on the Miami Heat. He was previously on the LA Clippers, the 2019 Western Conference finalists Portland Trailblazers and the Orlando Magic.
Congratulations on getting signed onto Miami Heat, how is that transition going?
Obviously this year things have been weird having a shorter time to prepare for the season. I think my teammates and coaches have made it easy for me to adjust. I’m taking it day by day and really enjoying this process of fitting in with my new team.
You recently stated during an interview, “I think you’ve got to be comfortable in your own skin.” How do you implement this ideal on and off court?
I think the main message behind that is to do things confidently and fully. On the court you do that by playing your game and being confident in your abilities. Off the court it’s exploring the things you like to do and attacking life with purpose.
Tell us when your love of wine began. What are some of your favorites?
It began in college, I learned about wine from listening to Steve Ladin talk about his experiences and how much he enjoyed it. Once I was able to try it I fell in love myself.
Prisoner, Derange, Red Blend
Peter Michael – Au Paradis
Stags Leap Cask 23
I understand you have partnered with The Prisoner Wine Company to benefit the Equal Justice Initiative and connecting your Black Lives Now platform. What plans do you have with this partnership?
I have teamed up with The Prisoner Wine Company and my Black Lives Now platform to donate $10,000 to Equal Justice Initiative, as all three organizations work towards creating a more just and equitable society. The Prisoner Wine Company stands in solidarity with the fight against racism, and they believe they have a responsibility to use their platform to drive awareness and action in the fight for justice and equality. Together, we hope to raise awareness and inspire action for social justice initiatives, while broadening the appreciation of “wine culture” in diverse communities.
I understand you are an avid art collector as well. How do sports, wine, art, and activism blend together in your world?
To me it’s what you define art as. To me art is something people create. Art is an expression of people’s creativity. It’s less about blending them together; to me it’s all 1 thing. It’s art. When a basketball player goes out there on the court that’s his art. To me art is what touches people. If that’s philanthropy, helping people is your art. Your life is your canvas.
You are very active on Instagram with your activism and interests. How will your Instagram platform partner with The Prisoner Wine Company and their social platforms?
In addition to the donation to EJI, we will be doing an Instagram live together in early 2021 to talk about some of my favorite wines in The Prisoner Wine Company’s portfolio, as well as discuss our partnership and how we hope to raise awareness whenever and wherever we can.
How do you find the resources supporting Black lives and Black rights that you post on your platforms?
It’s a mix of experiences, exploring on your own and people pointing me in the right direction. No one has all the right answers but collectively we can come together and find a lot more.
How does wine and sports pair, especially with your interest in wine and as a professional sports player?
It pairs really well. There’s a lot of other people in sports, athletes, coaches who are interested in wine. It’s a way we’re able to come together and it’s also a tool for relaxation, it’s not hard on your body. It’s a tool we use to create experiences and bond with each other.
Any plans to start a podcast or YouTube channel exploring the areas you are passionate about?
As of right now no, but things always change. It could be something I’m interested in down the road.
Will you be giving any input on any future wine production at The Prisoner Wine Company?
I will not be consulting on any sort of limited edition wine production for The Prisoner Wine Company at this time, but if there is an opportunity for that down the line, I’d love to work with them on it.
Do you cook? If so, what do you like to cook? Which meals do you prepare that pair well with which Prisoner wine?
I do like to cook. I like to cook all kinds of things: some of my favorites are a nice piece of skirt steak. I really enjoy making pasta because there’s so many different variations. I also like to make lamb.
What is your favorite recipe paired with which Prisoner wine?
– seafood pasta with The Prisoner Chardonnay
skirt steak/asparagus/rice – DeRange/Red Blend
seared chicken thighs/mashed potatoes – Carbono/Headlock
pairs well with a nice sunny day and a charcuterie board Syndrome rosé