We have never, in our history here at Metasip, been driven to immediately stop what we are doing and go straight to the blog and post something with a title in all caps. Until today.

Yao Ming

Photo courtesy sporta.com.

There he is, all smiles. Yao Ming. Chinese basketball megastar. The first Chinese national to play in the NBA, Yao gained fame in the 2000s, and helped the game continue to grow globally. And, it turns out, he is using that superstardom and fame back home to make wine. People: YAO MING MAKES WINE! OMG!

I’ll admit: this sneaked up on me. I wasn’t expecting this AT ALL, but…it does make total sense.

I was going about my business actually…my business is that of site manager for two burgeoning properties here on the web: Not just Metasip (where you are right now) but also Metakitchen (where you will soon visit, and sign up to Like on Facebook, and Tweet with and…). Part of this mission includes the mantra of “subscribe to everything,” since we don’t know what we don’t know (and we also want to make sure that we have the right stuff in our own email newsletter when we launch it).

Imagine my surprise, then, when reading a great Wine Enthusiast post on “Pairing Wine with Mother Sauces,” I saw an ad on the right hand side of the page. For a wine. With the name “Yao Ming.” I did not know that Yao Ming makes wine.


We’ll stop yelling, now that we have your attention.

Yao at Work

Courtesy yaofamilywines.com

A couple of notes about this particular wine that caught our eye:

  1. It is NOT cheap. The folks over at WineExpress will sell you a bottle for under $90. (Link provided as a public service; we don’t make anything if you buy from that link.)
  2. It has been well-received by the wine community, it appears. The video from the tasting guy at WineExpress, Josh Farrell, tells us it’s got “a nice chocolate note, black cherry, black currants.” “Made by someone who knows what they are doing.” AND…”this will really show something in five to eight years.”
  3. Yao Ming might be the smartest guy on the planet. Look at the label:

Yao Ming Wine

Am I going to buy this wine? NO. You can buy me a bottle, and, if you work for Yao’s winery, I’m happy to taste-test a bottle and give it a review. That’s not likely though…and, that’s okay. I’m not the target audience.

This label is insanely smart because it has a photo of a vineyard, the name “Yao Ming,” the grape (Cab; the one tasted by Wine Express is from 2010, the photo is from Houston Press and shows a 2009 vintage), and the words “Napa Valley.”

At roughly $90 a bottle for a California Cabernet, Americans will likely pass and suggest a bigger name Cab. But the growing Chinese wealthy class will gobble this stuff up – not only is it from a premier region for Cabs, it’s also has Yao’s name on it.

Have You Had This Wine?

If you have sampled Yao Ming’s wine – any year is fine with us – we’d love to hear from you. Until we do, slow clap for Mr. Yao. Finding that niche – Chinese people who consume wine – and leveraging your good name to give them something of value…nice move.


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