onehope winery tasting area

Winery of the Week: ONEHOPE Wine

There is a new kid on the block in the Rutherford region of Napa, and she is a stunner. In 2020, ONEHOPE Wine opened its first full-scale tasting room in the heart of Napa. Upon opening the 10-acre property, ONEHOPE became the first-ever impact-driven winemaker in the area. Located in the coveted wine region of Rutherford, the space is the latest in bold moves the brand has made in the industry.

ONEHOPE was born out of friendship, and a shared love of wine (of course).

Rewind to 2005.

Recent college graduates Jake Kloberdanz, Tiffany Wojtkiewicz, Sarah McPeake, Tom Leahy, Kristen Shroyer and Brandon Hall each earned jobs at E&J Gallo Winery. Given the nocturnal nature of those starting out in the industry – think stocking wine on grocery store shelves at 3 a.m.; not partying on yachts – the crew quickly bonded and forged deep friendships, dreaming of one day owning their own brand.

The seeds for the business began one October when they noticed nearly an entire grocery store – save for the wine aisle – was pink thanks to the many products supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month. They found themselves sad both that wine wasn’t represented in support of the cause and that come Nov. 1, all the pink was gone, yet there was no other cause to support. In response, the friends put pen to paper on a pie-in-the-sky concept: a wine company that partnered with a host of causes and transparently donated a portion of every dollar made directly back to each group.

According to Shroyer, being that most of them were just 23 years old at the time, the idea stayed on paper for what they thought would be forever. But turns out ‘forever’ was just a few years away.

In 2006, Kloberdanz called Shroyer with the sobering news that a friend was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at just 24 years old. Realizing life was short, the colleagues quit their jobs, committed to building a wine company that supported people like their friend. They named their company ONEHOPE Wine in 2007 because they wanted to give hope by giving back with funds from every bottle to create a lasting impact for local and global causes. After connecting with a custom crush facility and developing an initial concept – wines where each varietal raised funds for one cause that they cared about – the team began selling ONEHOPE from their cars and to their friends, quickly learning the former was technically illegal. Within a few months, the team earned a distributor, and that changed everything.

Today, ONEHOPE is available in all 50 states, including hotels and restaurants, and has more than 200 investors. The success led the team – still together – to purchase the coveted Rutherford land and make the winery a reality. The space allows them to host wine tastings, events and even their own formal harvest parties, the most recent of which raised $317,000 to provide clean drinking water to thousands in the developing world. Given the brand’s success, they now also have a ONEHOPE Foundation, funding causes all over the world using proceeds from their wine sales versus just one varietal for one cause at a time. To date, they’ve made contributions to more than 30,000 local nonprofits in excess of $7.5 million in the past 14 years alone. They also launched a direct-to-consumer program where anyone can host a ONEHOPE winetasting to help fundraise for a nonprofit of choice, and they have a wine club where you can have their winemaker curate wines for you, or you can pick and choose yourself.

OK, so let’s get tasting!

The aesthetic at the tasting room is light, bright and airy – very feminine and contemporary. Honestly, it begs for an impromptu photo shoot for your reel or even the grid. There are several options when it comes to bottles and bites, each overlooking quite the view of the Mayacamas Mountains.

My personal favorite experience is called Wine & Bites. Of course, if you follow these columns, you know if there is a food pairing option, that is always the favorite! It requires an advance reservation and features a really nice selection of wines (I tend to add a few extra based on my personal preference and love of their sparkling selections) and then some insane small bites that change seasonally. With Omicron, they also have a clever option for those who might be staying closer to home, a mini tasting flight that can be signed, sealed and delivered directly to you! Pro tip: make them your birthday and celebratory gifts for friends this year, then enjoy it with them while telling the story about the winery and its founders. Makes for a thoughtful memory versus a gift card or lunch date.

As for what to taste, there are too many good options. Here are a few of my personal faves:

2020 ONEHOPE Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Ripe with a dense structure, both the flavors offered on the nose and to the taste come in waves, perfectly layered. First, there is a lovely touch of dried herbs. Next, expect ever-so-subtle vanilla. Finally, chocolate rounds everything out and ties both the herbs and vanilla together. $35

ONEHOPE Wine Limited Edition “Thankful for You”

The bottle alone – shimmering silver etched with “Thankful for You” – is reason enough to buy it. But surprise…there’s more! The fresh green apple and nectarine with a hint of fresh baked bread and creamy finish is perfect most appetizers, but really shines served with cheese or dessert topped with a mountain of whipped cream. $49

ONEHOPE Rutherford Estate Sauvignon Blanc

Aromatic and crisp, this is a patio pour and swimming pool sipper the second it is warm enough to get back in a bathing suit. $45

Elway’s Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Barrel-aged for 18 months, the dried fruit and herbs – notable the sage – here are magic. I especially love the notes of plum and black cherry to the taste as well. $77

Finally, there is also now a Founder’s Favorite case you can buy online with 12 of the long-time friends’ very favorite bottles. It is perfect to buy with your own friends and enjoy together.

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