Former NBA superstar Yao Ming invites investors to help expand Yao Family Wines
NAPA, Calif. – March 5, 2015 – Napa Valley winery, Yao Family Wines, has announced an equity crowdfunding campaign on Crowdfunder to open tasting rooms, build its direct-to-consumer business and create new market opportunities. Perks for top investors include tickets to wine-tasting and gala events, and the grand opening of the Yao Family Wines Shanghai tasting room.
Yao Family Wines, founded by NBA legend Yao Ming, bottles three ranges of wines including YAO MING Family Reserve, YAO MING Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, and Napa Crest, a proprietary Napa Valley red wine blend. The wines have been remarkably well received, scoring between 90 and 98 points from acclaimed critics such as Robert Parker, Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
Seeking to raise $3 million on Crowdfunder, the company plans to build a visitor center in Napa Valley for guests to enjoy tastings and events. China, a major market for Yao Family Wines and a huge growth market for the luxury California wine industry, will also become home to a new tasting room in Shanghai.
Yao Ming launched Yao Family Wines as a result of a discovered love of wine during his time in the United States, and an admiration for the beauty of Napa Valley. “Every shared bottle of wine becomes a permanent memory – a night you share with family and friends,” said Yao. “We may all be eating different meals but we are drinking from the same bottle. That’s why I fell in love with wine. It reminded me of family-style meals in China, where everyone shares a common meal.”
“Crowdfunder is a great vehicle for entrepreneurs like Yao Ming to tell their story and connect with investors that believe in their vision,” said Chance Barnett, CEO of Crowdfunder. “Through our extensive network we will allow Yao’s fans and wine connoisseurs everywhere to be a part of Yao Family Wines.”
Perks for investors, depending on the size of their investment, may include:
• Private grand opening event of Yao Family Wines Napa Valley Tasting Room
• Attend WildAid Annual Gala with Yao in San Francisco at the Ritz-Carlton
• Exclusive dinner in Napa Valley with Yao Family Wine pairings and winemaker Tom Hinde
• 2015 Auction Napa Valley invitation with two business-class tickets and luxury accommodations
• Trip to Shanghai for the grand opening of the new tasting room, including two business-class tickets and a luxury suite**
“Through Crowdfunder we offer fans and enthusiastic investors the opportunity to invest alongside Yao Ming in Yao Family Wines,” said Tom Hinde, president and director of winemaking.
In addition to wine, Yao also has a passion for wildlife, and is an ambassador for WildAid – a nonprofit that seeks to end the illegal wildlife trade by reducing demand through public awareness campaigns. Yao and WildAid have been credited for helping reduce consumption of shark fin soup sold by as much as 70 percent*. Crowdfunder will further support the organization by donating five percent of the investment carry to WildAid.
Yao Family Wines is currently available in the 12 major U.S. metro areas, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai, and will launch in Taipei this year.
* Washington Post, 2014
** Valid Passport and visa are required for travel to China
Yao Family Wines:
Established by global humanitarian and retired NBA star, Yao Ming. Yao Family Wines offers high quality wines made in the prestigious Napa Valley. 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. Three varieties are available: Yao Ming Napa Valley, Yao Ming Family Reserve and Napa Crest.
Crowdfunder is the leading equity crowdfunding platform, with over 90,000 registered users and $75 million committed across investments to-date. Entrepreneurs use the platform to tell their story and raise investment from a community of institutional and individual accredited investors. The company played a significant role in JOBS Act legislation, creating the new market for equity crowdfunding that brings private investing online.