Yao Ming Launches Wine Brands

30-day Challenge – Day 27

I’m not much of a sports fan, but I couldn’t help but notice recent stories about the former Houston Rockets star, Yao Ming, releasing a line of luxury wines in his native China.

Yao Ming’s company, Yao Family Wines will roll out its first 5000 cases of 2009 cabernet sauvignon under the “Yao Ming” label. Pricing is set at $289 (1,775 yuan) per bottle. The World Street Journal indicates that a smaller production run (a tenth of the size of the first run) will be called “Yao Family Reserve”. Yao Family Wines has secured distribution agreements with Pernod Ricard SA (a French beverage distributor) to sell its wines, which are not produced at any of Yao’s vineyards.

Though the US overtook France in wine consumption earlier this year, China’s wine consumption has doubled between 2005 to 2009. Whereas Chinese wine drinkers have a preference toward French wines (don’t we all?), Yao Family Wines aims to create a market for California wines. This won’t come easy especially as wine importers face import duties and taxes close to 30% and 20%, respectively. In spite of those obstacles, bottled-wine imports in China have grown by 240% between 2008 to 2010.

In the world of bottled-wine imports, France takes the lead with a 47% market share, followed by Australia (16%). The U.S. is ranked in sixth with a 6.4% share of the global market.

– Paraphrased from the Wall Street Journal Article


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