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Yao Family Wines plans to raise $3 million via Crowdfunder, a website for entrepreneurs to get funding from fans.

As China’s luxury wine market cools, Yao Ming, the former National Basketball Association all-star, is inviting U.S. wine and basketball enthusiasts to own a piece of his Napa Valley winery for as little as $5,000 per person.

The proceeds will be used to build a visitor center in Napa Valley and a tasting room in Shanghai, Yao’s hometown. He hopes to develop sales in the United Sates. Yao’s wine sells for $85 to $842, and China’s government has been cracking down on luxury items like this.

Only high net-worth American citizens and permanent residents can invest in the fundraising effort because of U.S. securities laws.

PREMIUM BOXED WINE SURGES

Premium (3-liter) boxed wines enjoyed an 11 percent volume increase and a 14 percent rise in value in the 52 weeks through Feb. 22, according to IRI.

The leaders are Constellation’s Black Box (4 million cases last year and a projection of 5 million cases for 2015) and Napa’s DFV Wines’ Bota Box (3 million cases), but E.&J. Gallo is adding a new brand, Vin Vault ($20 a three-liter box) to its The Naked Grape brand (770,000 cases).

Both Black Box and Bota grew 18 percent last year; the overall wine business is growing far slower.

CRAFT BEER CRACKS DOUBLE DIGITS

The Brewers Association reports that craft brewers took an 11 percent volume share of the U.S. beer market in 2014. U.S. craft beer production rose 18 percent to 22 million barrels last year, while retail value increased 22 percent to $20 billion, for a 19 percent value share of the beer category.

The number of breweries in the U.S. grew 19 percent last year to 3,464, including 1,871 microbreweries, 1,412 brewpubs and 135 regional craft breweries. About 615 breweries opened in 2014 while 46 closed.

HUMANITAS APPROACHING A QUARTER-MILLION IN DONATIONS

Humanitas Wines has donated almost a quarter-million dollars to charity.

Founded in Judd Wallenbrock’s backyard shed in 2001 as a way to give back to those less fortunate, Humanitas donates 7 percent of all revenue to charity. The funds go to solution-based organizations in health, hunger and affordable housing, with a focus on regional giving. Currently, Humanitas has fundraising partnerships with SightLife, whose mission is to eliminate corneal blindness, The Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and many regional food banks and community foundations.

In 2014, Humanitas Wines joined the Good Life Wine Collective with Jessup Cellars and Handwritten Wines.

The winery offers appointment-only tastings with molecular gastronomy spoon bite pairings in southern Napa.

Wine lovers who wish to Drink Charitably can order wines at HumanitasWines.com or call 253-1405.

WINESPIRIT — THE ART AND SCIENCE OF WINE

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Husband-and-wife team photographer Chris Purdy and winemaker Alison Crowe explore the relationship between the art and science of wine Sunday, March 29, from 1:30 to 4 p.m. at Franciscan Estate at 1178 Galleron Road in St. Helena. For details, visit WineSpirit.org.

NAPA VALLEY WINE LIBRARY ASSOCIATION’S WINE SEMINAR

The Napa Valley Wine Library Association’s wine seminar considers “Winemaking in Two Worlds: Napa Valley and France — Burgundy and Bordeaux” on Saturday, May 9, in the EcoLab Theatre at CIA-Greystone, St. Helena.

Vintners Jean-Charles Boisset of Raymond Vineyards, Philippe Melka of Atelier Melka, Aaron Pott of Pott Wine and Michael Silacci of Opus One examine their winemaking here and abroad, moderated by Master Sommelier Gilles de Chambure.

Attendees will taste “King Cab” alongside Le Vin des Rois, and Pinot Noir with Vin Rouge de Bourgogne as the panelists present their wines especially chosen for the seminar.

An al fresco lunch at Raymond Vineyards concludes the day.

The seminar is $160 for members and their guests, and $175 for nonmembers.

Tickets are available at NapaWineLibrary.com or by check to NVWLA, P.O. Box 328, St. Helena, CA 94574.

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