Wander + Ivy is a certified woman- and disability-owned company providing quality wine in upscale single-serve packaging. Each year, the company donates 1-percent of total wine sales to a nonprofit providing healthy food to those in need.
Founder and CEO Dana Spaulding is at the helm of it all here in Denver and we were intrigued by her work ethic and tenacity to get her business off the ground. How does one woman come up with the idea to create single-serving wine bottles and turn it into a successful business? We sat down with Spaulding to find out how she became a worldwide wine sensation out of a need she saw in the industry.
How did you come up with the idea to start Wander + Ivy?
“I had the idea for Wander + Ivy in 2016 with my husband. I wanted a glass of wine from one of our favorite producers and he said to me, “Are you really going to waste another bottle of wine?” I did want that glass, but I agreed it was a shame to pour leftovers down the drain again. This led to me shopping in the single-serve wine aisle, which usually meant can or boxed wine options. From a packaging and quality standpoint, nothing that existed was what I was looking for. This ultimately sparked my interest to dive into the industry and fill a gap as well as fulfill my personal needs.”
How long did it take you to go from idea to an actual brand?
“I spent the next six to nine months building a business plan for Wander + Ivy and formally left my finance role at JP Morgan in 2017 to focus on building the business. Since founding the company, we’ve proudly raised 7-figure rounds of investment, however I am still the majority owner today.”
Did you always aspire to go into the wine business?
“I always wanted to build a business, but I wasn’t sure what. I initially became interested in the food and beverage industry because of the inspiring clients that I had worked with at my previous job. After having the initial idea for the company, one of the first things I wanted to do was build credibility for myself. I was confident in my finance background, but I wanted to feel comfortable stepping into this new realm. I built my knowledge base and, in 2017, received the International Wine Guild Level 2 Sommelier Certification. There are massive players in the wine space and 100s of canned wines nowadays, so I felt extremely strong about being knowledgeable and innovative.”
Why is Denver the perfect place to run your business?
“I grew up on the East Coast outside of Philadelphia and attended Fordham University in New York City, where I studied Economics, Business Administration and Dance. I moved to Denver in 2013 where I now live with my husband, Gus, our children, Maelyn and JB, and boxer, Tedy. Denver has been an incredible place to start and run our business. There is an amazing community of entrepreneurs, advisors and friends supporting the journey. And the location is somewhat central—an easy flight to our production facility in California as well as east coast meetings.”
Why are your wines so unique?
“Our wines are very recognizable varietals from renowned wine regions around the world, which we source from award-winning, family-owned vineyards that are certified organic, at a price point comparable to what exists in the market. What makes our wines unique is our packaging – it was one of the biggest challenges we faced in creating Wander + Ivy and for that same reason is one of the things I’m most proud of. Wander + Ivy is set apart from anything on the shelf. I wanted to design a shape and feel that didn’t already exist—something that would make people immediately think of class, elegance, luxury.”