Celebrating National Wine Day With Wondry Cocktail Wines Founders, Chaz and Whitney Gates
With National Wine Day around the corner, it’s only right that we highlight a unique story within the wine industry. We learned that only 1% of the wine industry is made up of Black winemakers. Wondry Cocktail Wines is part of that 1%. Founders Chaz and Whitney Gates are the couple behind the brand. We caught up with the married couple shaking up the wine industry to learn more about their brand and backstory.
It really inspired me by how WONDRY challenges the status quo. Do you feel that you have succeeded in making this happen? Or in making the wine industry less exclusive?
Definitely. Given that less than 1% of winemakers are black, our presence alone in the wine industry challenges the status quo. Similarly, most wine companies make the same standard varietals, merlots, pinot grigios, etc. At Wondry we want consumers to “Sip Different”, so we infuse our wine with all-natural fruits, with the final result being a unique wine that blurs the lines between a premium wine and a craft cocktail.
Our diverse presence certainly makes the wine industry less exclusive for winemakers. But, our unique wine offerings also brings more non-traditional wine drinkers to the wine industry as well. Our consumers tend to be younger multicultural drinks who didn’t naturally gravitate to wine. So, by creating a product that is more inviting to different types of consumers, Wondry is making the wine industry more inclusive, one wino at a time!
What challenges come from the exclusivity of the wine industry? What obstacles have you faced in developing WONDRY?
The biggest challenge often involves getting traditional wine drinkers to be open-minded and inclusive of our unique wine varietals. Wine is one of the oldest products in Western culture, which means many wine consumers have centuries-old assumptions that a new company like Wondry has to compete against. We realize that we won’t change people’s preferences and palates overnight. So, we are challenging the exclusiveness, as previously stated, by welcoming new age winos to the wine industry.
What have you learned along the way in this type of space?
Like music and food, a good product transcends demographics, cultural and generational differences. Although the wine industry is exclusive, we have come across many skeptics who have given Wondry a chance and ultimately appreciated the value that our company brings to the wine industry. We’ve also converted many skeptics who don’t drink wine…in fact the most common comment we hear is “I don’t drink wine”. However, after sampling Wondry they ultimately become loyal repeat customers.