Yao Ming eyes push into white wine
CHINESE wine lovers might have a preference for red wine, in particular Bordeaux, but former Houston Rockets basketball star Yao Ming is eyeing white wine as his next business venture.
And the reason is simple - his wife, retired Chinese professional basketball player Ye Li, prefers white over red.
Ms Ye's choice of poison is typical of female consumers in China, who are credited with driving new demand for whites, according to AFP Relaxnews.
According to figures from the Britain-based International Wine and Spirit Research, the Chinese market for white wine is expected to grow 69 per cent between 2011 and 2015, compared to 53 per cent for reds.
For the longest time, red wine is more popular than whites among Chinese drinkers, for reasons ranging from the former's perceived health benefits to red being a lucky colour in Chinese culture.
In fact, Yao recently released the 2010 vintage Napa Crest - a red wine - from Yao Family Wines, the company Yao founded in 2011. The wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot grapes and is priced at 535 yuan (S$109).
However, as the wine-drinking community becomes more sophisticated, consumers are gradually taking to white wine, especially young, female drinkers, said AFP Relaxnews.
But while wine is seen as a status symbol among China's middle and affluent classes, beer and baijiu - white spirit distilled from sorghum, wheat or rice - are still the most popular types of alcohol consumed in China.