Good Company: Kind of Wild Wines Is on a Mission to ‘Rewild’ the Planet
Words By: Tracy Kaler (Barron’s/Penta)
With more than 40 years of combined experience importing certified organic wines in the U.S., Adam and Jordan Sager had a head start. Leveraging their passion, expertise, and connections in the organic wine market, the brothers founded Healdsburg, Calif.-based Kind of Wild Wines in 2020. The direct-to-consumer brand sells organic, vegan-certified wines crafted by small family producers in top-tier wine regions.
As co-presidents, the duo has worked in tandem to lead Winesellers, an importer and marketer providing fine wines to restaurants and retailers. But Kind of Wild was the brothers’ foray into selling direct to consumers. While they had long considered a DTC division, the pandemic was a driving force in their decision to launch the business in 2021.
“We had direct to consumer top of mind to replace some of the business we lost,” Jordan Sager says. Pre-pandemic, 60% of Winesellers business was restaurants, but that 60% plunged to 10% overnight as the hospitality industry shut down due to Covid. The Sagers turned to consumers for feedback and funding, setting up their campaign on IndieGoGo, only for it to be fully funded within two weeks while initially attracting more than 100 wine club subscribers.
“Organic wine has been a huge part of the business at Winesellers. We’ve been selling certified organic since 2002 or 2003 and have great relationships all over the world with growers,” Sager says. Since the availability of organic wine is limited online, Kind of Wild made all the more sense. “We thought we could make better wines, more interesting wines, and offer better value.”
Kind of Wild launched with six wines: a French rosé, a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, an Gruner Veltliner from Austria, a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, a Tempranillo-Garnacha from Spain, and an Argentine Malbec-Cabernet blend. This summer, the company released three new wines: a Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon from Columbia Valley, Washington State, and a Chardonnay from France. Details on the wines, regions, serving facts, and recommended food pairings are available on the website.
Each wine features a custom-designed label. The team collaborated with artists to create unique branding for the bottles, hoping to make a positive impact with its messaging. The Grenache-Syrah rosé showcases “Animal Spirit,” honoring Native-American cultures, and the Tempranillo-Garnacha has the “Excess Temptations” label, signifying the importance of how humanity interacts with nature.
Wines retail for US$24 each, and discounts apply to bundles. Three bottles receive a US$1 discount, and a six-pack of wine gets US$2 off. Three to five bottles cost US$10 to ship. Shipping is free for six bottles or more.
“Club Wild,” the brand’s wine club, offers 20% off six-pack orders. There’s no cost to join the club, and shipments can be paused or canceled anytime. Currently, the company ships to 27 states.
WHAT’S THE GOOD?
Selling additive-free wines made from organic grapes, Kind of Wild is devoted to “regenerating the planet.” According to Sager, organic wines are much more than a clean, low-sugar drink. Ultimately, organic wines are not only healthier, but they’re better for the environment.
Recently, the company became a 1% for the Planet member. Kind of Wild donates 1% of its annual revenue to the Organic Research & Farming Organization, whose primary goal is to convert conventional agriculture to organic agriculture, and Kiss the Ground, a nonprofit focusing on regenerative farming for climate change. They also partner with Ecologi––an initiative dedicated to reducing 50% of global CO2 emissions by 2040––planting a tree for every order.
They champion sustainability in other aspects of its operations, as well. The brand uses lighter-weight, American-made glass bottles to reduce its carbon footprint, and uses corks without capsules. Labels are crafted from sugar cane, linen, and hemp and printed with vegetable inks. The company’s minimalist packaging is made from Sustainable Forestry Initiative-certified materials.
Kind of Wild plans to release a Spanish Cava in October, bringing the offerings to ten wines. The company recently launched a partnership with Sprouts Farmer’s Market, a national grocer selling four Kind of Wild wines. They plan to roll out additional bottles in the future.
“We will continue to expand our presence and reach, as well as seek partnerships with new organic growers to bring our customers global discoveries from farmers that promote healthier soils,” Sager says.
The brand hopes to influence others to adopt organic and regenerative farming practices by supporting organic growers and local ecosystems. “Our mission is to expand the adoption of organic and regenerative farming as a climate solution,” he says.