In November 2011, Yao Ming, global humanitarian and recently retired NBA star, announced the establishment of his new Napa Valley wine company: Yao Family Wines.
The Company launched its first brand – the YAO MING Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – in December 2011. The Company launched its second brand – the NAPA CREST Napa Valley Proprietary Red Blend – in September 2013.
The Company’s wines have received critical acclaim from Robert Parker of The Wine Advocate and Steve Heimoff of the Wine Enthusiast. After awarding 95 points to the Company’s 2010 YAO MING Family Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and 90 points to the Company’s 2010 YAO MING Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Mr. Parker wrote:
"I am aware of all the arguments that major celebrities lending their names to wines is generally a formula for mediocrity, but that is not the case with Yao Ming. These are high class wines. The two Cabernets are actually brilliant, and the Reserve bottling ranks alongside just about anything made in Napa."
Vineyards and Wine
Yao Family Wines sources the grapes for its Yao Ming Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from prestigious Napa Valley vineyards with a reputation for excellent fruit and selects individual blocks to blend for flavor and texture in its world-class wines. The vineyards are located from north to south along the Napa Valley, where the variation in climate and soils provide the grapes with distinct characteristics that add complexity to the final blend. The grapes are fermented using artisan winemaking techniques and are aged up to 18 months in 100% French oak barrels. Only the best lots were used in the final blend.
The label was designed by Chuck House, the celebrated California wine label designer. It features a hand-drawn illustration of Napa Valley with the ancient Chinese character for “Yao,” elegantly representing both cultures in which Yao Ming has made his home.