Wine for wildlife:
NBA Hall of Famer Yao Ming, who has been making wine under the Yao Family Wines label for several years now, opened a St. Helena tasting room last spring. Now he’s using that wine for wildlife conservation efforts.
This week, we head back to Napa Valley for the story of Yao Family Wines with Tom Hinde, President and Director of Winemaking. Learn how the five-time NBA All-Star got his start in wine then launched his own winery on Main Street in St. Helena.
September 24, 2016
For some people in the wine biz, the pursuit of a perfect bottle is a lifelong work. When you’re an athlete, it’s more like a second career.
But you have to wonder—just because you can score a touchdown, stick a landing, ace your opponent, or hit a three pointer at the buzzer does not necessarily mean you can do much else. Here, Vivino looks at the top seven athlete-owned wineries to find out if their wine game is as good as their glory days.
Imagine being really tall, like, you know, 7 foot 6 inches. Then imagine being the only Chinese dude in the entire NBA. Fish out of water? No, because Ming not only excelled at hoops—like being an 8-time All Star, and 3-Time All-NBA Team player—but was also one of basketball’s best ambassadors.
Ming played for the Houston Rockets averaging 19 points per game, but decided to attempt a three pointer at the buzzer by starting a Napa winery. Are the wines are a slam-dunk?
Well, Yao’s wines are restrained and sensitive, like they have been crafted by a gentle giant with a good soul. “After several vintages I think people know we make very high quality wines and I am happy we have been accepted in both China and the U.S.,” Ming tells Vivino.
September 12, 2016
SPECIAL YAO MING WINE - Last week, legendary basketball player Yao Ming was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, where The Republican newspaper and Masslive.com are based, for those of you from out of state reading this column.
To commemorate the event, Yao Family Wines in California created a limited edition "Hall of Fame Bottling" of its 2014 Napa Crest Red Wine. Only 1,000 bottles were created, according to the winery.
The first bottle (number 1 or 1,000) was recently auctioned online. All the proceeds from the auction benefited the Basketball Hall of Fame.
So how much did Bottle Number 1 sell for? When the bidding was finally closed earlier this month, the winner paid $1,100.
Pretty impressive, just like Yao's career.
From Yao Ming to Sting, hundreds of celebrities have decamped to California and Europe to try their hands at winemaking. But just because a famous guy is willing to emboss his name on a bottle, it doesn’t mean the stuff inside is any good.
NBA Hall of Famer Yao Ming has a winery that’s better than you think, and a new tasting room where you can judge for yourself
Yes, as in Yao Ming, former Houston Rockets NBA star turned winery owner. Yao recently debuted a hospitality center in the former Bello Winery space, spanning three private tasting rooms for sit-down adventures, an outdoor patio area, and general tasting space at a big oval quartz bar glowing with LED underlighting.
NBA to Napa:
Professional sport celebrities, from Joe Montana to Mario Andretti, can’t seem to resist the allure of the wine business. And that includes former NBA sensation Yao Ming, who launched Yao Family Wines when he retired from the Houston Rockets in 2011. Last month, he opened the doors to his new St. Helena wine tasting room, where visitors can sip the Yao Ming and Napa Crest cabernet sauvignons and red blends at a marble-topped bar, in the cozy lounge or on the patio. Psst: The tasting room is next to Gott’s Roadside burger stand. Details: Open daily, tastings $35 and up. 929 Main Street, St. Helena; www.yaofamilywines.com
In 2011, 7-foot-6-inch-tall Yao Ming retired as a professional basketball player. He had played in the NBA for the Houston Rockets for more than 10 years, and during his career he’d been widely regarded as one of the superstars of the game.
The 7-foot-6 ex-Houston Rocket center caused quite the stir when he stopped by the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena for Premiere Napa Valley’s barrel tasting and auction, which raised $5 million for the Napa Valley Vintners…