The retired NBA star sets his eyes on the wine-making business and aims to hit the high-end Chinese market.

While a wine company pays tribute to an American icon through champagne, retired NBA superstar Yao Ming takes a formidable shot into the wine business by launching his own Californian winery exclusively for the Chinese market, named Yao Family Wines.  Yao’s wines, which are distributed by French beverage company Pernod Ricard SA, will be named “Yao Ming” for the first five thousand cases, all of which will be geared toward the high end market.

Made from cabernet sauvignon grapes harvested in 2009 from Napa Valley in California, each wine bottle is priced at 1,775 yuan (US$289) a bottle. A second wine, called Yao Family Reserve, will be released later this year, for an initial limited run of 500 cases set at a higher price. Yao Ming shares:

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