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Yao Ming Among Star Vintners Seeking Millions From Crowdfunding

Through Naked Wines and other platforms, vintners are raising money to branch out on their own or expand an existing business. Yao Ming wants $3 million.
Yao Ming took to Crowdfunder to offer fans shares in his Napa Valley–based Yao Family Wines for $5,000 and up.

Yao Ming took to Crowdfunder to offer fans shares in his Napa Valley–based Yao Family Wines for $5,000 and up.

Courtesy of Yao Family Wines
From

Superstar winemaker Jean Philippe Moulin developed prestige champagnes for brands like Barons de Rothschild and LVMH’s Ruinart but always dreamed of creating a line of bubbly under his own name. Last year, U.K.-based Naked Wines made that possible, providing €500,000 in advance funding through its 250,000 wine-loving customer-investors, who were able to buy Moulin’s four champagnes at a discount, Bloomberg Markets reports in its May issue.

When South African Rowan Gormley founded online retailer Naked Wines at the end of 2008, wine crowdfunding didn’t exist. Yet the company’s reward-based structure has been so successful that by 2012, it had expanded into Australia and the U.S. “In 2015,” Gormley says, “Naked plans to invest £70 million in 145 vintners in 13 countries.”