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THE LOOP

A tall drink
Yao Ming is likely the tallest oenophile, or connoisseur of wine, in the world.
 
Of course at 7-foot-6, the retired basketball star is the tallest person doing just about anything he wants to do.
 
Yao, 31, last played professionally for the Houston Rockets in 2010-11 until foot and ankle injuries forced him to the sidelines and then into retirement. The "Great Wall" of Yao became a global phenomenon after playing for China in the Olympics and then being picked first overall in the 2002 NBA draft.
 
A Bloomberg video report, which appears at yaomingmania.com, tells about Yao and his fledgling Yao Family Wines, which has partnered with Kodak for a way to confirm the authenticity of the pricey wine. When a special card is held over the label, the Yao Family seal appears so wine buffs can know it’s the real deal.
 
Yao established his wine company in November.
 
The wines are made in California’s Napa Valley and launched first in Shanghai, Yao’s hometown. Yao influenced the style of the wines, the video explains. The suggested price for the Yao Ming wine is $280. The Chinese wine market is 125 billion cases a year-mostly domestic wine-and is growing more than 10 percent a year. But imports are growing faster.
 
The Yao Family Wines products-beginning with Yao Ming 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon-are expected to be available in the United States this year.
 
Kodak’s anti-counterfeiting business is part of Kodak Security Solutions. The company’s tools include "locks" and "keys" for original products or packaging. For example, a holographic image on packaging can be an anti-counterfeiting lock, while the eye of a customs official-or, in Yao’s case, a card-is the anti-counterfeiting key.

Wegman wins the Wegman
This seemed a little bit odd when it crossed our desk-or at least our virtual desk.
 
The Food Marketing Institute announced its winner of the inaugural FMI Robert B. Wegman Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence this week in Orlando.
 
The winner: Danny Wegman.
 
FMI officials said the award honors Danny’s entrepreneurial leadership in the design of retail strategies and imaginative merchandising. It was presented at FMI’s Midwinter Executive Conference.
 
FMI instituted the newest award in honor of Bob Wegman’s creative retail savvy.

"Since joining the company in 1964 as a store manager, Danny Wegman helped mold the organization into one of the top-ranking companies to work for. … Under Wegman’s leadership, the nearly 100-year-old privately owned brand has become a $6.2 billion family-friendly franchise."

Send tips, rumors, inside information or strange tales for the Loop to Managing Editor Mike Dickinson at mdickinson@rbj.net.

2/3/12 (c) 2012 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.

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