October 3, 2019 |
The Weissberg Seff family is a true Californian legacy. Pioneering, wine-loving and deeply obsessed with all things California, the 4th generation Los Angeles family took on a new project recently that opened their eyes to a new business.
The Weissberg Seff’s corrugated manufacturing and packaging distribution company, Acorn Paper Products, was founded in 1946 and, amazingly, everyone apart from the very first generation is still working at the company. Beyond packaging, the company services an incredible 80 percent of the wine packaging market in Central California and Northern Califonia with offices in Vacaville and San Luis Obispo.
Over the years through their wine packaging business, the family developed and built up countless personal relationships with wine sellers throughout California. From growers to sellers to sommeliers, to restaurants, to fulfillment houses and everyone in between, the wine industry was constantly trying to convince the Weissbergs to get involved with actual wine as well as the packaging.
Finally, the family was convinced. Ondule Wines was born. Ondule Wines was conceived in Los Angeles but born in Napa Valley. Hiring the talented winemaker, Jason Holman (a protégé of the esteemed John Kongsgaard), the first vintage is a beautiful 2013 Napa Bordeaux blend made in the old-world style using organically grown, new-world grapes from the Coombsville AVA. As wine aficionados will know, 2013 is arguably Napa’s finest year for Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. True winos will know this was the best Napa Cabernet Sauvignon grape in 50 years. Better still and in keeping with California traditions, the grapes were organic.
The result was better than Ondule could have expected. The wine was a hit. Rather than take the traditional route of working with a distributor, true to form the Weissbergs/Seffs kept it in the family. Jake and his father chose to distribute and sell the limited production themselves and soon found that they most enjoyed partnering with family-owned and operated businesses like theirs.
“The best part about selling our wine is telling our story.” Jake Weissberg explained. Given only 260 cases of the wine were produced, the family decided to keep all distribution in California. The whole project is a love letter to the state.
What made you finally decide to try out the wine industry?
JAKE WEISSBERG: Our 4th generation family-owned and operated packaging manufacturing and distribution company is called Acorn Paper Products. We have had an operation in northern California and central California for some time and we have partnered with some of the most amazing companies in the wine industry on everything from packaging design, supply chain management, to creating a brand in the marketplace that has presence and strength. We took the relationships that we created, purchased our first grapes over the past few years have developed our brand, Ondule Wines. Without risk, there is no reward and we believe that if you have a superior product and the passion to drive traction and sales, while simultaneously strengthening our family relationship and business, success is achievable, which we are finding out to be true.
What was the most exciting part of creating a wine blend?
JW: Two-part question! Firstly, the wine: We wanted to create a red blend, more specifically, a Bordeaux blend, that had a unique full-body, with a rich and complex flavor, while achieving the ability to appeal to someone who was interested in something a bit lighter An organic, versatile, superior wine, with marketability, was the goal with the first 2013 vintage. It was really exciting to create a red blend that we all loved, specifically a Bordeaux blend. We love the full body of a Cabernet Sauvignon and the fruits of the Merlot but adding a substantial percentage (10%) of Petit Verdot really gave us the complexity and smoothness we craved. The fact that 2013 was such a stand-out year for grapes in Napa was an added gift.
Secondly, the brand: Creating the Ondule brand meant combining our passion for wine, packaging and travel into not only a wine company but a lifestyle brand that will form many legs in the coming years. The wine is a direct reflection of our family and our need for more culture, ambition and spontaneity with life.
What did you consider when creating the label and packaging?
JW: We wanted to create a brand that was marketable to the wine connoisseur as well as a younger demographic who can appreciate great wine while feeling a part of a larger lifestyle brand. More affordable than an OPUS One, but the same quality and better branding. Each bottle is numbered, we designed a unique font and the color scheme says sexy, direct, clean. Inspiration was to create branding that was more along the lines of high-end luxury brands outside of the wine industry and do something that was not typical WINE packaging.
What foods are you loving pairing with the wine?
JW: Red meat like steak or lamb, bold cheeses such as epoisses or strong goudas, rich pasta dishes like pappardelle with duck ragu and, of course, dark chocolate over 73%.
What’s next! Will you release another wine?
JW: yes a lot of exciting projects and wines on the horizon, big social media push, influencer marketing, pop up events, etc.
Photography by: Photography Vanessa Tierny