Thank Grandma Sylvia. When most women did not work outside the home, Grandma Sylvia started a home-based business in Cleveland, Ohio, selling market research to local companies. Her entrepreneurial spirit laid the building blocks that would be the foundation of ONEHOPE Wine, a Rutherford winery dedicated to sharing wine and giving hope.
Grandma Sylvia passed her ambitious ways on to her daughter and her grandson Jake Kloberdanz, who grew up with these remarkable women as role models for how to build a company and manifest dreams. Today, as the CEO and Co-Founder of ONEHOPE Wine, he’s provided nearly ten-thousand (mostly women and moms) the opportunity to launch their own purpose-driven business in the wine industry. ONEHOPE has donated over $6 million while providing a platform to raise awareness and millions of direct donations to over 20,000 nonprofits over the last few years.
After graduating from Berkeley, Jake joined E & J Gallo’s Management Development Program and met seven similarly ambitious and talented up-and-comers. After completing training, Jake moved to Newport Beach, marketing and selling Gallo products in supermarkets. Jake helped down stack pallets and stock shelves during late nights and early mornings to build relationships with the key decision-makers.
One day, while stocking a display of Campbell’s Soup, he noticed a pink ribbon and an explanation that the purchase benefited the fight against breast cancer. That was the morning that the idea for ONEHOPE was born; a wine brand where the purpose is woven into the fabric of the brand.
At first, Jake did what most people do when they have a great idea – nothing. But he was inspired to act six months later when one of his childhood friends shared the news that she had blood cancer. He flew home to see her the next day and told her he would start on his entrepreneurial journey while she went through her fight with cancer.
He said, “It’s all about intrinsic motivations – things beyond money that make you love what you do. I knew I wanted a business that was deeply rooted in a purpose beyond just the bottom line.”
Seven of the teammates who started with him at Gallo joined him to found and build a wine brand that would give back to charitable causes year-round. Five co-founders are still with ONEHOPE today – Brandon Hall, Tom Leahy, Tiffany Wojtkiewicz, Sarah McPeake, and Kristen Shroyer.
For the first six months, they worked to establish their purpose – to nourish the future. Their mission is sharing wine and giving hope, and they decided that the values they would embrace are hope, unity, empowerment, and authenticity. They focused on opening a bank account, buying a pick up truck to transport wine, and getting a winery license.
When asked how he began the process of building a brand based on philanthropy, Jake gave a 21st-century answer. “I googled winemaker and charity and found someone who was involved in several nonprofits.”
An initial collaboration making wine in Sonoma with Winemaker David Elliott gave the team an excellent start. Things really heated up when they partnered with winemaker Robert (“Rob”) Mondavi, Jr., grandson of one of the most respected vintners in Napa Valley history, Robert Mondavi.
Rob helped the company make award-winning wines. In 2017, Winemaker Mari Wells Coyle joined the ONEHOPE team to become Vice President of Winemaking, taking over ONEHOPE’s entire portfolio of wine while still collaborating with Rob and other great winemakers on select reserve and estate wines. Mari also took on the critical role as the face of ONEHOPE’s wine education platform, helping to inspire and empower people in their community to learn more about wine.
“We provide the opportunity for everyone to be in the wine business and build ONEHOPE with us. It’s kind of like Girl Scout cookies for adults.”
– Jake Kloberdanz
Around this time, ONEHOPE also created proprietary software to democratize the opportunity to be in the wine business. With the right team in place, the team’s original vision began to grow exponentially, and their software enabled them to keep up with the scale.
CAUSE ENTREPRENEUR PROGRAM
In 2014, the founders launched an opportunity to earn an income while making an impact. Fittingly, the program’s participants are called Cause Entrepreneurs. What began as a simple affiliate program in California is now operating in 44 states representing 99 percent of wine sales in the United States, and the Cause Entrepreneur program accounts for over 80 percent of the company’s total annual sales.
“For ages, starting a wine business was limited to the very few who could afford it, were born into it, or were willing to take a big risk,” Jake explained. “We provide the opportunity for everyone to be in the wine business and build ONEHOPE with us. It’s kind of like Girl Scout cookies for adults.”
Cause Entrepreneurs market ONEHOPE Wine directly to the consumer via personal relationships and events that raise money for important causes to event hosts. Ten percent of event sales are donated to the host’s cause of choice. Cause Entrepreneurs receive a commission while never taking on the risk or liability of handling the money, carrying inventory, or shipping the product to the customer’s door.
This program is the fastest-growing sales channel at ONEHOPE. Since the beginning of 2021, the company’s Cause Entrepreneurs have quickly grown to nearly 10,000. They are on a trajectory to grow to over 50,000 by 2025.
“The Cause Entrepreneur opportunity was a lifesaver for people who lost their jobs or needed to work from home due to the pandemic,” said Tiffany Wojtkiewicz, President and Co-Founder. “As a largely direct-to-consumer wine company with a flexible gig economy role that can be done from home, we saw our community grow by 300 to over 350 percent over the past year. Thousands of people depend on our platform to help supplement their family’s income, and some even make over six figures.”
She shared that many Cause Entrepreneurs are part-time. Some build their business over time, and others are involved strictly for the fun and fulfillment it brings to their lives. Not all Cause Entrepreneurs are solely focused on selling; some focus on building teams and working to help their teammates succeed.
Interestingly, 99 percent of the participants are women. It is not surprising, considering half the founders are women, ONEHOPE’s winemaker is a woman, and their CEO’s role models growing up were intelligent, strong, and hard-working women and moms in his own family.
“We’ve donated to over 20,000 local non-profits throughout the country.”
– Kristen Shroyer
“It’s all about intrinsic motivations – things beyond money that make you love what you do. I knew I wanted a business that was deeply rooted in a purpose beyond just the bottom line.”
– Jake Kloberdanz
“It’s true, the group is mainly women,” Tiffany laughed, “And a few good men.”
MANY CHARITABLE CAUSES
The list of charities that ONEHOPE and its Cause Entrepreneurs have supported over the years is impressive and too long to list. Kristen Shroyer, Co-Founder and EVP of the ONEHOPE Foundation shared, “To date, ONEHOPE has proudly donated over $6.5 Million. Through our fundraising platform we’ve donated to over 20,000 local non-profits throughout the country. We’ve also provided over three million meals to help end childhood hunger, built schools in the developing world, and so much more.”
ONEHOPE WINERY and 20/20 COLLECTIVE
In addition to democratizing the wine tasting experience for people all over the country, ONEHOPE recently opened a winery and tasting room. Nestled in the heart of Rutherford off Highway 29, the physical winery is a place they can call home.
The winery was designed by the most famous architect in Napa history, Howard Backen. It’s only open to members of the 20/20 Collective, otherwise known as “Visionaries.”
ONEHOPE’s exclusive winery offers more to Visionaries than just highly rated 90+ point wines from premier AVAs throughout Napa (although they have plenty of those too). They are building a community, not only connected through their love for great wine but also through their passion for giving back. At its maturity, the 20/20 Collective will have 2,000 Visionaries funding 20 significant Acts of Hope every year. Acts of Hope range from local projects like providing health care services to Napa Valley farm-workers to global initiatives like building schools in Guatemala and Laos.
“With seven indoor and outdoor tasting spaces, our winery is more like the ‘Soho House of Napa’ than a traditional tasting room, but with a deep sense of purpose connected to our mission to share wine and give hope,” Jake noted.
“Everything our company does is centered around hope and purpose,” Jake shared. According to Jake, ONEHOPE is powering over 5,000 tasting events a month, uniting people around wine to give hope to others and themselves. Jake predicts that ONEHOPE will soon be the largest DTC wine brand in the United States and, ultimately, the world. Grandma Sylvia would be proud.
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Article By: Layne Randolph // Photos By: Taylor Hotter