Basket press? | Yao Family Wines releasing special label for NBA Hall of Fame entry

By Jim Boyce | Former basketball star Yao Ming will release a special wine to mark his upcoming entry to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Yao, the top pick in the 2002 NBA draft, played 486 games for the Houston Rockets and averaged 19 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.9 blocks, according to Basketball Reference.

According to Yao Family Wines, 1,000 bottles of specially labeled Napa Crest Red Blend will be released, each with a “numbered, holographic label”. (Let’s hope those grapes went through a basket press.) (Drum roll.)

Yao, who is also a funny ad man, basketball team owner and anti-shark fin campaigner, launched Yao Family Wines in 2008. The first bottles were released in 2011, with former Flowers and Kendall-Jackson head Tom Hinde in charge of production.

In 2015, Yao launched a USD3 million crowd-funding, project to open tasting rooms in Napa Valley and his hometown Shanghai. That Napa room opened in February and will appeal to the rapidly rising number of Chinese visitors to the area, a situation others have recognized.

At the time, I quoted John Stallcup, of Stallcup & Associates Brandwork: “I was the Asian concierge at Stag’s Leap Wine cellars for three years. The number one question that visitors from China asked was, “Where is Yao Ming’s winery?'”

I’ll post more details on the special Yao Ming wine as I get them.

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