Even before the first golfers teed off for the 2022 PGA Championship, one female entrepreneur had already carded a hole-in-one with her unique single-serve wine being featured at the event. Founded in 2017, Wander + Ivy has made a name by creating its own niche in the ever-expanding and diversifying wine market, which is increasingly harder to accomplish these days as brands continually search for the next big idea.
Packaged in a stylish reusable glass bottle designed to appeal to eco-conscious Millennials, the brand is the brainchild of Dana Spaulding, the founder, and CEO of Wander +Ivy.
“I realized that there were wine-loving consumers out there like myself that wanted to enjoy a glass of wine without worrying about what would happen to the rest of the bottle they just opened,” she says. “They wanted an elevated single-serve experience delivered in a great package.”
Coming from a background in asset management with J.P.Morgan’s Private Bank, Spaulding wasn’t a wine insider. Instead, she looked around and decided to reach out to professionals. They partnered with family-owned sustainable wine producers who used certified organic grapes to produce each of their varietals. Each of their five wines is made by a specific vineyard spread across the globe.
Launched in Colorado, where Spaulding is based, the brand took time to find its footing—positioned as a premium product with a price point of around $7.99 for a 6.3-ounce package, Wander + Ivy hosted tastings and worked retail floors introducing their product. It worked, and soon the brand began to expand its footprint across the western part of the United States, plus a few in the Northeast. One of their most significant moves was to focus on the direct-to-consumer market early, which helped expand their reach to 43 states.
All of that has yielded results. Sales grew 450% year-over-year in 2020 and an additional 220% in 2021. Those numbers helped them recently close a seven-figure Series A funding round to help increase their sales and marketing presence and bump up inventory. Something they very well might need after their week at one of professional golf’s biggest events.
Landing a coveted spot at the event resulted from Spaulding reaching out to the PGA after hearing that they were looking to expand the diversity of their vendors at their event. Wander + Ivy is a certified woman and a disability-owned company (Spaulding was born with Syndactyly) fits that bill. They focused on being brought into the 2021 Senior PGA Championship held at the same location as the 2022 PGA Championship, Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma. After undergoing a vetting process, they were brought on. They were able to convert that experience into a spot at this year’s event, not as a paid sponsor but as a vendor brand.
“Last year’s event was huge for our brand. We met many people and got Wander + Ivy in front of so many attendees,” said Spaulding. “My only goal was to get back this year and showcase ourselves as a top supplier to the PGA. The connections we will be making this week with attendees should really open more doors for our brand and fuel the next few years’ growth.”
Two of Wander + Ivy’s five varietals—Chardonnay and Rosé—will be available in 6.3-ounce glass bottles in Club 1916, the tournament’s largest premium concession area, as well as in the Media and Viewing Suites throughout the course.
While defending champion Phil Mickelson won’t be at the event, there will be plenty of stars on the links and roaming the sidelines. The chances are good that some of them will be sipping wine from an interesting bottle that could be one of the event’s biggest winners.