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Wine to me is passion. It's family and friends. It's warmth of heart and generosity of spirit. Wine is art. It's culture. It's the essence of civilization and the art of living. - Robert Mondavi

OneHope - One impactful wine

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

It was the flashy, pink glittery bottle of champagne that drew me in at a Battery member wine tasting event in San Francisco. I’ll admit, I’m attracted to shiny things and the bottle screamed “I’m sexy, I’m unique, I’m fresh and perfect to bring if you want to make a splash at any occasion”.  Later on, I couldn’t get the glitter bottle out of my mind, so I took to my computer to do some research on how to get my hands on one of those bottles. As I explored the OneHope site, I realized that this wine, much like Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde, was much MUCH more than a pretty package…its mission is not pure consumer delight, but to positively impact an array of causes, giving back with every bottle.

OneHope was founded by 8 optimistic twenty-somethings who decided they wanted to use a favorite indulgence (wine) for good cause, donating proceeds from every wine purchase towards a unique charitable cause.  Similar to the Toms or Warby Parker “buy one give one” craze of the past decade, this younger generation of winemakers isn’t content to just produce good product with sleek packaging, but seek to also raise awareness and make an impact in the world through every bottle of wine sold. OneHope donates 50% of the profit from every bottle sold to their specified causes and as of this blog post, has already made more than $2 Million in donations, supporting over 12 causes, each measured on impact (i.e. each case of Chardonnay sold represents one clinical trial for a woman with breast cancer). Causes include autism and breast cancer research, microloans to help break the cycle of poverty, placing sheltered animals in new homes, vaccinating children to prevent deadly illness, planting trees to help save our planet and providing clean drinking water to people around the world. OneHope has also established another way to generate money for causes; if you host an at-home tasting with ViaOneHope (their direct sales community), 15% of the sales from that event can go to a local charity of your choice.  

But it gets better. The wine actually tastes good.  So good, that it’s ranked the #1 selling wine out of 10,000 wines available for purchase on Amazon, has received multiple 90+ point ratings, and has been rated one of the top 300 wineries by volume of 8,000+ in the US!  Key to the wine’s quality and success? Back in 2009, Michael Mondavi, one of the pioneers of the Napa Valley wine industry, met the young founders at a tradeshow and offered to help them.  Today, Rob Mondavi Jr. is a consultant winemaker for the brand and produces a product that’s consistently high quality and actually affordable too. R.M. Jr. does all of the sourcing for OneHope and has helped expand the portfolio of wines to include grapes that come from Monterey, Paso Robles, Edna Valley, Lodi, Sonoma Coast, etc.  Since OneHope wants anyone to be able to afford and enjoy their wines, they have a moderately priced core collection, and have expanded to Reserve tiers and special editions (including the Glitter bottles!)

I haven’t yet visited OneHope in person, as it’s undergoing construction and will not be finished for another year and a half, but I am eagerly awaiting the opening and looking forward to a “hard-hat tour” before it’s officially open.  The winery has been designed by renowned architect, Howard Backen, iconic in wine country for designing Meadowood and Harlan Estate, and will be located on a prime piece of real estate in the heart of Napa wine country off of Highway 29 in Rutherford across the road from Cakebread and a neighbor to the iconic Mondavi Winery.  The 15,000 sq. foot winery facility is intended to be a community hub, great for social gatherings, exhibits and tributes to the causes supported. The design will feature lots of windows and glass doors to bridge the outdoors with interior, wrap around porches, and a large private barrel room and tasting room open for public tasting. It will be named "Estate 8" to symbolize the 8 partners that founded it, to represent the infinity sign, in all of its symmetry and infinite cycling of resources, and to pay homage to the Chow family that the winery was purchased from, since 8 is a lucky number in Chinese culture. OneHope is not just a producer of wine, but rather a lifestyle brand that you will want to be part of, especially if you embrace the company’s credo: “Make giving back part of what you do every day”.

Wines I sampled*

*Fun fact: the dots on the bottles aren’t just a pretty decoration, rather they’re a statistic representation related to the cause supported by the bottle; i.e. 1 in 7 children do not know where their next meal is coming from in the US, hence, 1 in 7 dots is filled in on the Sparkling Brut.  For every case of the Sparkling Brut sold, 25 meals are donated through the charitable partner, WhyHunger.

Rutherford Estate Sauvignon Blanc: A unique sauvignon blanc that is aged in oak yet remains crisp and fresh. Notes of tangy citrus, stone fruit, and tropical fruits are balanced with a bite of crisp green apple. Really intense fruit flavors and aromatics.

California Brut Sparkling Wine: Crisp, light, wine with a nose of green apple filled croissant .  The body has light fruit flavors of gooseberry, white peach, baked bread and prickly pear. Refreshing and perfect for summer.

California Chardonnay: A warm, rich Chardonnay with aromas of baked apple pie sprinkled with baking spices.  On the palate, buttery caramel apple, vanilla bean toffee and crisp pear.

California Cabernet: A deep hued cabernet with nice tight structure and hints of blue fruits to match the bottle. Notes of blackberry cordial, coffee, dark chocolate and some dried tobacco. Some secondary notes of leather and roasted plum make for a nice finish.

California Pinot Noir: A bright, layered pinot with notes of red fruits, wild strawberries and bing cherries on the nose and palate. Secondary flavors of fall leaves, spices and violet make this wine interesting and rich with a nice finish.

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