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US/CHINA: Yao Family Wines signs Pernod Ricard import deal

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Ex-basketball player Yao Ming has started his own wine company, Yao Family Wines, in California and has appointed Pernod Ricard as its exclusive importer in China.

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The company's first wine, a 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Suavignon, has been released under the Yao Ming brand name, the group said yesterday (28 November). Having played basketball for the Shanghai Sharks, Yao Ming is focused on producing premium wine specifically for the emergent Chinese market.

The firm said that it has appointed Pernod Ricard as its exclusive importer for the Yao Ming brand in mainland China. For Pernod, the deal strengthens its roots in China by tying the company to well-known celebrity.

According to Yao Ming, the wines are aged exclusively in 100% French Oak barrels for at least 18 months. Individual barrels from each lot are hand selected by taste for the final blend. Yao Ming wines are available now in China, but will also be available in the US from 2012.


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