Yao Ming is known for his exceptional accomplishments, both on and off the basketball court. Yao flourished as one of the premier players in the NBA for nearly a decade, becoming an NBA All-Star five times over the course of his career. In 2003, Yao was listed in TIME as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. In 2008, Yao played for the Chinese national team in the Beijing Summer Olympics, and was granted the honor of carrying China’s flag into the arena during the opening ceremonies.
Yao’s humanitarian career also began in 2008, when he created the Yao Ming Foundation in response to the devastating earthquake in Sichuan Province, China. The foundation’s long-term mission is to provide educational opportunities for children in the United States and China. The foundation has committed to rebuilding five schools in the earthquake region. The new earthquake resistant schools will provide top-level education for more than 1,400 students, many of whom will board at the schools. The foundation has also made grants to help rebuild four playgrounds in Houston destroyed by Hurricane Ike. Yao has pledged $2 million to the foundation, and has committed to covering all the administrative costs with his personal funds.
Yao also serves as a global ambassador for the Special Olympics and Wildaid. Yao and Sir Richard Branson have recently joined forces with Wildaid in an effort to save sharks from extinction, and Yao has made a global appeal to ban shark fin soup.
Yao has a long-term mission to help contribute to the growth and development of basketball in China, at the youth, professional and national team levels. Yao is now an owner of the Shanghai Sharks, the professional basketball team in the Chinese Basketball Association that Yao played for in his youth.
Yao retired from the NBA in the summer of 2011. He is now focused on his own education, recently enrolling as an undergraduate student at Shanghai Jiao Tong University where he will major in economics. He also continues his humanitarian projects, his ownership role with Shanghai Sharks basketball team, and his new Napa Valley wine venture. Yao makes his home in Shanghai, with his wife and daughter.
One of the most experienced wine industry experts in California, Tom Hinde has extensive expertise in all facets of the wine business – from vineyard cultivation to winery management and hands-on artisan winemaking – his broad skill set has been instrumental in the success of Yao Family Wines.
Under Tom’s direction, Yao Family Wines has garnered prestigious recognition globally including top honors from Robb Report China’s Robb Choice · Best of the Best 2012 where exceptional brands are celebrated for offering the best products in their industries, and a nomination from Wine Enthusiast magazine for 2012 American Winery of the Year following the extraordinary scores of 97 points for the 2009 Yao Ming® Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 95 points for the 2009 Yao Ming® Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
Tom’s impressive resume spans over three decades with prior posts at some of California’s most acclaimed wineries: from 2005 to 2010, Tom was President, CEO and Director of Winemaking for Flowers Vineyard and Winery, a specialty Pinot Noir and Chardonnay producer located on the Sonoma Coast.
From 1997 to 2005, Tom was General Manager for Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates and helped develop two famed Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon programs as part of the winemaking teams for Lokoya and Cardinale. Additionally, Tom supported the winemaking team at Stonestreet Winery and launched the world-renowned Vérité Estate. For seven years, Tom was General Manager at La Crema and Hartford Family Winery where he helped build La Crema into one of Sonoma County’s most prominent wine producers.
At Yao Family Wines, Tom has leveraged his longstanding grower relationships to source some of Napa Valley’s most sought-after fruit, providing him with the top quality grapes necessary to craft the finest Cabernet Sauvignon from the region. This combined with Tom’s deft winemaking approach and exceptional palate has propelled the highly coveted Yao Family Wines to “must have” status world-wide.
Tom has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Toledo and a winemaking certificate from the highly-regarded University of California, Davis. Tom lives in Santa Rosa and Truckee, California, with his wife and three children.
Larry has a strong background in both developing and managing vineyards throughout the known world. His particular expertise lies in soils and conservation and his extensive resume includes vineyard management and viticulture consulting experience with Clos du Val Winery, Clover Hill (Australia), Domaine de Nizas (Languedoc, France), Elyse Winery, Falcor Winery, Flowers Winery, Morisoli Vineyards, Taltarni Winery (Australia) and V. Sattui Winery among others.
Larry has Bachelors and Masters degrees in Plant Science from the University of California, Davis.