For some, the idea of a business model benefiting charitable causes is a dream for the future; for others, it’s an obtainable goal—in need of a few friends to jump on board in order to help make it a reality.
ONEHOPE Wine started with just that, a group of friends who supported and encouraged the idea of CEO and Founder Jake Kloberdanz, and wanted to help him change the world.
While working at Gallo Wine Company in Southern California, Kloberdanz took notice to many branded products sold in grocery stores that had a special tie to charitable causes. Why not include wine sales in the effort to give back?
After finding out that a friend of his was diagnosed with cancer, Kloberdanz and seven of his coworkers took the idea and ran with it.
The eight founders of ONEHOPE Wine, originally named HOPE Wine, began in 2007. “[We] started HOPE Wine essentially out of the back of our cars,” Founder and VP of Sales Kristen Lyn Shroyer explained.
In the first year, Shroyer says the team realized they had a lot to learn about the business, despite their background of working at a vineyard. Branding, production, pricing, sales… these skills would soon fall into place, and the founders left their positions at Gallo to take on the enterprise full-time to make it happen.
For each bottle of ONEHOPE Wine sold, 50 percent of the proceeds go directly to the corresponding cause. ONEHOPE Wine varietals, produced in partnership with Rob Mondavi, Jr., each support a different cause—Chardonnay supports the National Breast Cancer Foundation; Sauvignon Blanc supports the environmental foundation American Forest; Merlot supports an organization called Keep a Child Alive, in its effort to help children with AIDS; and Pinot Noir supports pet adoption, benefiting the ASPCA.
President and Co-founder Tom Leahy states, “It gives me pride to explain that what I do for a living is making a positive impact on my community.”
Distribution outside of California developed quickly and, thanks to Shroyer’s ties to Arizona, it became the second state to carry ONEHOPE Wine in retail locations. Originally from Scottsdale, Shroyer volunteered to relocate back home in order to expand the name, and distribution began in Albertsons stores April 2008.
Since then, ONEHOPE has expanded its cause—branding to a greater reach with Hope at Home, a wine party clients host at their home with 15 percent of the event sales benefiting the clients’ chosen cause; ONEHOPE Weddings, a way for couples to give back on their big day through their wine order; and ONEHOPE Social Impact Coffee, benefiting a new social cause each month with a donation of 50 percent of the proceeds.
With ONEHOPE Social Impact Coffee, “It was a perfect line extension for the ONEHOPE Family,” Leahy explains. “It falls in line with our wine being a consumable product and, like our Mondavi partnership, LaMill Coffee produces our coffee, makes amazing coffee and has been a great partner.”
The ONEHOPE team hopes to continue its mission by additional quality products that have a beneficial dollar-to-impact ratio in order to help even more non-profits. Leahy says, “With our wine we want to get to 150,000 cases in the next couple years. At that case amount, our impact on the community will be sizable and the positive influence will be fun with our partner non-profits.”
Article by Kimberly Gunning
Originally published in the Winter 2013 issue of AZ Wine Lifestyle.