Fourth Quarter: The USD3 Million Yao Family Wines Crowdfunder Campaign Winds Down

Yao Ming–former NBA star / hilarious ad man and current team owner / college student / anti-shark fin campaigner–is seeking a few final assists for his wine venture.

Yao Family Wines released its first wines in 2011, has received some good reviews, including from Robert Parker, and now seeks USD3 million in further investment to expand the business via a crowd-funding campaign that began on March 2 and is nearing its deadline of May 31.

From an article in The Wall Street Journal in March (my highlights).

Yao Family Wines plans to raise $3 million via Crowdfunder, a website for entrepreneurs to get funding from fans. The proceeds will be used to build a visitor center in Napa Valley and a tasting room in Shanghai, Mr. Yao’s hometown…

With Beijing’s anti-corruption campaign sapping demand for expensive wines, Yao Family Wines, the biggest seller of high-end Californian wine in China by value, is shifting its focus from Chinese banquet tables to U.S. steak houses. Now 15% of the winery’s revenues come from the U.S., compared to almost zero at the beginning in late 2011. The company said it has managed to grow its sales in a tough environment, without giving more details.

The minimum investment is USD5,000 and the campaign is only open to U.S. citizens. The benefits, besides the planned repayment of the investment and a share in future profits and a potential IPO, include an invitation to the annual shareholder party in Napa Valley as well as bottles of Yao Family Wines.

Not surprisingly, more money means more benefits. For example, USD50,000 gets a lifetime one-third discount on Yao wines, while USD500,000 includes two business class tickets, plus a suite, to attend the 2015 Auction Napa Valley in June with Tom Hinde , president and director of wine-making for the project.

You can keep up with the Crowdfunder campaign here.

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