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"Grads make wine, give back"

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University of Arizona marketing alumnae of 2005 Kristen Sensemen and Tiffany Goodman, as well as Sarah Gora, and 2004 alumna Alyse Gome, founded ONEHOPE Wine, a wine company that gives 50 percent of its proceeds to various charities and causes.

Three UA graduates have found a way to make a living while giving back at the same time.


Kristen Senseman and Tiffany Goodman, who graduated in 2005 with degrees in marketing, and Alyse Gome who graduated in 2004 with a degree in communications, along with five others, founded ONEHOPE Wine. The company donates 50 percent of its profits to charities. Each type of wine corresponds to a different cause.

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ONEHOPE is a fitting name for the company, Goodman said.


""It just basically underlies our mission, which is one hope for a better future,"" she said.


When ONEHOPE Wine was launched in June 2007, they started with three types of wine corresponding with three causes: chardonnay with breast cancer, cabernet sauvignon with autism and merlot with AIDS. Eight months later, they added two more: sauvignon blanc with the environment and zinfandel with supporting the troops.


""Here we have the opportunity to support a number of such worthy causes and give back and change the way people do business,"" Gome said.


Each of the founders has been impacted by one or more of the causes, Senseman said.


""It's personal, but we also try to hit different demographics of people,"" she said. For example, the environment is sometimes associated with left wing politics and supporting the troops is sometimes associated with right wing politics, she said.


""I think that's really why our concept works, is because of the causes we've chosen,"" Goodman said. ""Almost everybody is affected by one of them.""


Senseman said the business is a way to generate awareness for the causes.


""I think there's starting to be a trend where people are more socially responsible,"" Senseman said. ""Hopefully other companies can pick up on that and do their part to give back.""


The company is based in Orange County, Calif., and the winery is in Sonoma County, Calif. The company has raised about $250,000 in cash and donations.


ONEHOPE Wine is distributed in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and North Carolina. Albertson's was the first chain to start selling the wine. It is now sold in retailers such as BevMo! and Safeway.


The three founding members from UA did not meet during school, but while working for Gallo wine company.


""It's crazy how it all worked out,"" Gome said.


Jake Kloberdanz, the chief executive of ONEHOPE Wine, had always wanted to start his own business. Then his friend was diagnosed with cancer at a young age, which helped spark the idea, according to Goodman.


""He thought, ‘This is something I need to do now,'"" Goodman said.


Senseman also said they noticed many products that advertised breast cancer awareness month in October. The founders decided to extend that idea to wine.


""We thought, ‘Why just do it in October when breast cancer affects women throughout the year?'"" said Senseman.


The founders wanted to launch the company while they were young, Gome said.


""It took a lot of perseverance and knowing it was going to be the most challenging thing we'd ever have to do but also the most rewarding,"" Gome said. ""We're all hard-working and willing to do anything to make sure that the job gets done.""


Senseman, who works from Phoenix, started an internship program with UA students two years ago. She currently has four interns helping with events and accounts.


""It's great because it's hard for me to get down to Tucson as much as I would like,"" she said.


In the future, Gome said they hope to expand the number of varietals of wine and causes they support. They would also like to expand to different products, such as clothing, makeup and other products.


""We want to be one of the best-selling wines in the country,"" Goodman said. ""We're looking to be a household name.""


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