Shanna Windham has watched California-based ONEHOPE wine grow into the impactful business it is today, providing more than $3 million in donations to charitable organizations around the world through wine sales.
Having worked at the wine distributor in Raleigh that first brought ONEHOPE to the state, Windham said, “it’s been an amazing opportunity to have helped launch this brand in this state as well as all over the East Coast and to have made significant relationships along the way with big impacts from sales with partnering accounts.”
Now, as ONEHOPE’s vice president of key accounts, based in Wilmington, Windham points out that North Carolina is “the third-largest state in the country as far as sales go,” for the company.
ONEHOPE grew out of the desire to create quality wines that could have an impact on the causes they support. Eight friends were inspired by companies giving back during certain times of the year, such as during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, and founded ONEHOPE to give back all year long.
Each varietal supports a cause through its sales, and as a result, ONEHOPE has been able to provide “44,500 people with global health care, 56,900 forever homes for shelter animals, 2.8 million meals for children, 190,000 vaccines, and much more,” according to ONEHOPE’s website.
Every product provides a social impact.
The causes encompass a variety of needs, and some of the many nonprofit partners include the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund; Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, a childhood cancer nonprofit; P.S. Arts; and Trees4Trees, focused on reforestation in Indonesia.
“We are able to impact a wide range of causes since each wine supports something different. Plus, we have Rob Mondavi Jr. and Mari [Wells] Coyle as our partnership winemakers, so they are delicious as well,” Windham said.
Although Windham is on the opposite side of the country from the winery and oversees accounts all over the country, she and her team have made a significant footprint on ONEHOPE’s Southeastern market.
“Our regional sales manager Garrett Boles is based in Atlanta but continues to be a driving force with his feet on the street in North Carolina with gaining new accounts,” Windham said.
Partnerships with retailers such as Harris Teeter, Lowes Foods, Food Lion, Whole Foods and Fresh Market, as well as independent retailers such as Soif de Vin, have enabled the brand to expand in North Carolina.
Locally, Ruth’s Chris Steak House is one of the top accounts serving ONEHOPE for all of its happy hour wines. Carolina Ale House, Jerry’s, Tavern on 17th and Hell’s Kitchen have been supporters as well, Windham said.
“Rosé – domestic or international – is on fire right now,” Windham said. “And red blends and sparkling wines are continuing to be popular.”
Each varietal of wine supports a different cause in its own unique way. For example, every bottle of ONEHOPE’s reserve prosecco funds four meals for a child in need, while every four cases of chardonnay funds one clinical trial day for a woman battling breast cancer.
Partner nonprofits are selected using a 15-point criteria standard, and donations are powered by the ONEHOPE Foundation, according to the company website.
To broaden its scope, ONEHOPE is venturing into direct sales.
With its “Mix. Mingle. Make an Impact,” motto, ONEHOPE’s merit- based marketing platform enables its “Cause Entrepreneurs” to run their own businesses, sharing and selling wines and gift boxes.
The company now has about 3,500 working with ONEHOPE Cause Entrepreneurs. The program started on the West Coast and is starting to “trickle more and more” to the East Coast, Windham said.
With the goal of becoming the No. 1 gifting company, ONEHOPE wants to expand its impact by allowing hosts of ONEHOPE’s events to donate 10 percent of sales to the host’s cause of choice in addition to product donations.
“Our mission is bringing together a community that makes the world better through memorable wine and experiences,” Windham said. “This is true for any channel that our wines are sold through. We are incredibly grateful to be making such a large impact through wholesale. It is what our business was built on over the last 11 years. Expanding into direct sales empowers more people to help us do this and therefore make a larger collective impact that ONEHOPE can make.”
Being on the other side of the country doesn’t keep Windham, a busy mother of three children ages 4, 3 and 2, out of the loop.
The company brings its own ONEHOPE community together often, video conferencing once a month and inviting employees to convene at their vineyards or meet within their different markets.
“We are spread out all over the country. So to look at each other and get that sense of connection is really important. We all talk to each other every day,” Windham said.
At one of the yearly meetings in January, Windham and her ONEHOPE colleagues met at their winery in Rutherford, California, where wildfires had devastated a great deal of the land in the surrounding areas.
“To see that devastation gives you a better sense of what you are hearing about and become more educated, rather than just hearing about it on the news,” Windham said. “For the sales team, meeting in other markets is really helpful. I just got back from San Francisco, and it is really insightful to see the challenges and successes of other markets.”