Breaking News
More () »

'We stepped out on faith': Meet a North Texas couple looking to disrupt the wine industry

Having secured a $225,000 investment from Mark Cuban on Shark Tank, the Texas couple says Wondry Wine blurs the line between premium wine and craft cocktails.

DALLAS — Meet Chaz and Whitney Gates, the North Texas couple disrupting the wine industry.

"I always joke about the 'Cat Lady.' She was the Wine Lady," said husband Chaz Gates, one half of the duo behind Wondry Wine"When we first started dating, every time I would come to her place, she always had wine all over the place."

With roots in sunny South Dallas, Chaz is an attorney by trade and has been labeled the "dreamer" of the duo. Whitney Gates is a serial marketing guru, but also admits she’s very practical about outcomes. 

Together, they're using their corporate experience to propel their business forward.

Whitney laughed while explaining, her dad even calls her behavior "an intensity."

"I literally googled how to make wine and I made so many mistakes," Whitney said. "My first wine fermentation was a total disaster, but I have this determination."


While Wondry’s concept blurs the line between premium wine and a craft cocktail, their story bridges the gap in a once very exclusive industry. 

"What we noticed before launching this business is that there is a large base of consumers who are being overlooked by the traditional wine industry," Whitney added.

She’s in part, referring to millennials and even Generation Z. 

"They haven't really gravitated to wine. They want craft cocktails, craft beers. And so, we've created a product that all people can enjoy, particularly people who don't have a sophisticated palette in the wine industry," Chaz added.

Their motto: Shatter glass ceilings by filling glass bottles. 

"There is this element of diversity and uniqueness in who we are and who we represent," Whitney said. "The startling fact is that less than 1% of American winemakers are Black, and we became very understanding of that when we launched the business.”

Due to those numbers, she says during the beginning phases of launching their business, they were often met with stares of disbelief.

"Oftentimes, people would mistake us for simply just sales people," she added. "When we told them we made this wine, they would look at us crazy."

Even with the additional challenges of starting the business, those tough days have fueled one of their greatest initiatives. With every purchase, they'll make a donation to underrepresented entrepreneurs as they work to bring communities one step closer to unity and inclusion.

Their fruit-infused wine and sangria collection boasts a 13.9% ABV.  They say the heightened alcohol content in their semi-sweet wines are another way the couple expressed they are disrupting the wine industry.  

"A lot of wines, particularly semi-sweet wines, range in the 5-7% ABV range," Whitney added. "We had to figure out how to deliver this sophisticated taste profile with an elevated alcohol experience.”

From Forbes to Black Enterprise Magazine, since their launch during the pandemic in 2021, the couple has been featured all over, but it was this $225,000 investment from Mark Cuban on Shark Tank that really took Wondry Wine to the next level. 

"We ask for it, we work for it," Chaz added. "We stepped out on faith and here it is, so we're just so grateful that happened. If you don't do anything, you know for sure, nothing will happen.” 

The Texas winemaking duo have won 11 medals in the oldest, most prestigious wine competition in Texas.

Before their appearance on Shark Tank, they were already in Target and Total Wine. Now, the couple has expanded their reach to multiple retailers across Texas. 

They also have plans to launch in Georgia and Arkansas.

You can learn more about their wine and their story here

Before You Leave, Check This Out