Manhattan Beach resident Jake Kloberdanz founded the charitable ONEHOPE Wine.
Manhattan Beach resident Jake Kloberdanz founded the charitable ONEHOPE Wine.
Manhattan Beach resident Jake Kloberdanz was in his early 20s when a close friend was diagnosed at 23 with Hodgkin's lymphoma.

The UC Berkeley graduate was working as a sales rep for a wine distributor when he came up with an idea to do "something with a greater purpose," and the idea of ONEHOPE Wine was born.

Kloberdanz recruited seven of his friends to get the charitable endeavor off the ground - to where 50 percent of the profits benefit various charities, from breast cancer prevention and treatment to forest preservation and protection.

With $10,000 and a mission, ONEHOPE was formally launched in June 2007 with a vision of "cause-centric commerce." It started with 168 cases of wine.

"We had a crew of us who knew how to sell wine," Kloberdanz said. "We started with Gallo and launched the brand kind of in our early- to mid-20s. I think the oldest person on the team at the time was 26 and the youngest was 22. We kind of just jumped into it and started selling wine out of the back of our cars. We played with the brand and the label as a first step. That was the cornerstone of our business, selling wine for a cause."

Based in El Segundo, ONEHOPE sold 50,000 cases of wine last year and has now donated more than $1 million to its partner charities.

The company has also expanded its outreach with the ONEHOPE Foundation, HOPE at HOME, ONEHOPE Weddings, Craft1933 and ONEHOPE Coffee and Tea.

ONEHOPE got off the ground quickly in 2007 when the company landed Mama D's Italian Kitchen in Newport Beach as its first restaurant to carry the brand. ONEHOPE's founders - including President Tom Leahy; Blake Petty, chief operations officer; Brandon Hall, chief marketing officer; Tiffany Goodman, executive vice president of sales; Sarah Gora, vice president of sales in California; and Kristen Lyn Shroyer, vice president of sales for Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada - quit their jobs and came on board fulltime.

Mike Weber, a Manhattan Beach native who graduated from Mira Costa High in 2001 and became friends with Kloberdanz while they attended Berkeley, came on board that year as a part-timer to help launch the companies first website in 2007.

"Jake and I used to have conversations about this business before he even started it," said Weber, who became fulltime in 2009 as the director of online operations.

ONEHOPE wine got its first distributor in 2009, Young's Market Company. The following year, Kloberdanz said, they grew the business "pretty aggressively."

Because of this growth, they attracted the attention of the Michael Mondavi, of the famous wine-making family, at a trade show.

By October, they launched new wine, co-created by winemaker Rob Mondavi Jr., and now have an alternating proprietorship at the Michael Mondavi Family Estate Winery in Napa, making its biggest step from a "virtual brand."

ONEHOPE expanded substantially in 2012, partnering with Lamill Coffee, to make the companies first foray into that multibillion-dollar business. They also launched HOPE at HOME, which is a "thriving community of Social Entrepreneurs" by hosting wine tasting parties at home, of which proceeds benefit a cause of their choice. Also, ONEHOPE Weddings is a service where wine bought for the wedding gives back to charities of choice.

"We believe that every individual can make a social impact through their lifestyle. So we aim to provide them products and experiences where social impact is integrated in," Kloberdanz said. "Why not give them a platform to raise additional money and a reason to bring people together for whatever the cause is?"

In its short history ONEHOPE has made an impact, raising more than $1 million already for charities.

In 2012 alone, according to ONEHOPE, its contributions provided 250,000 meals to U.S. children in need through Share Our Strength; planted 27,626 trees in U.S. forests through a partnership with American Forests; and provided 1,633 free mammograms to women around the country

While the company is growing nationally, ONEHOPE still has strong ties to the beach cities and has developed close working relationship with many restaurants, including Chez Melange in Manhattan Beach, Flemings in El Segundo and Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes. Terranea features ONEHOPE wine at each of its restaurants, Kloberdanz said, and has helped provide more than 100,000 meals for children through sales of sparkling wine.

ONEHOPE, previously located at Raleigh Studios, now operates at 227 California St., El Segundo. That's quite a change for a company that began with its merchandise stored in several apartments and a public storage unit.

Kloberdanz said the company's next step is to create a new business model and culture and "turn around and offer all the tools and expertise that we've learned in cause-centric commerce to other businesses."

"That's the big vision, is that we can build something here and be the first case study of this platform," Kloberdanz said. "Then (we can) open up to whether it's a small local business or larger businesses and teach them how to integrate social impact into their mission and into their vision and their everyday transactions. mhixon@tbrnews.com

On the Web

For more information, visit www.onehopewine.com
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