There are not many black-owned wine businesses in the United States but Chaz and Whitney Gates are hoping to penetrate the market. Wondry is a cocktail wine infused with organic fruit with heightened alcohol content. Chaz and Whitney pitched their company on Shark Tank and got a deal with Mark Cuban. As of 2023, Wondry Wine is worth $1.5 million.
About the Founders
Chaz and Whitney Gates are a married couple from Dallas, Texas. Chaz has a master’s degree in law from Johns Hopkins University, while his wife has an MBA in brand management and marketing from Washington University.
Before becoming an entrepreneur, Chaz served as a policy advisor at the US Congress. His work primarily focused on trade, defense, and foreign affairs. Later, he worked as legal counsel at Texas Instruments.
Whitney started her career as a business planning intern at General Mills and has worked as a brand manager at major companies including Kimberly-Clark, Nestle, and Coca Cola.
Founding the Company
At a young age, Whitney understood how great wine can make relationships stronger. Growing up, she observed how her late uncle made fruit-based wine and shared it with the neighborhood every year.
When she became an adult, she was inspired to make something similar. So, along with her husband she studied how to make organic wine with high alcohol content using different fruits. They used ingredients like berries and apples, but their average alcohol levels are 13.9%.
Wondry was launched in 2021 and became part of the 1% of black-owned wine and spirits companies in America. They started by selling online, but they soon got into a number of retail stores.
Getting on Shark Tank
The couple launched the business to build a legacy for their family and help other aspiring entrepreneurs. The company donates a portion of their earnings to people looking to start a business, no matter the industry.
However, the founders needed to raise money to fund the production and lower its costs. This is why they applied to appear on the show and luckily the producers picked them to feature in episode 6 of season 14.
After Shark Tank
Despite their episode only airing, Wondry Wine is expecting to see a huge uplift in sales, particularly over the next two weeks. Chaz and Whitney seemed like nice genuine people and fans of the show will be eager to support them. While a boost in orders will help them, hopefully, they will have the manufacturing capacity to meet demand.
Wondry is now available at 48 retail locations in Dallas. They are mainly in Target and Total Wine stores but are also in some small independent retailers. In addition, the wine can be purchased online at WondryWine.com. Wondry is gradually looking to expand its retail footprint outside of Dallas to scale the business.
The Wondry products mostly have 5-star reviews from customers on their website. The startup is expected to get more positive feedback after the show. Currently, Wondry Wine is worth $1.5 million.