STARTUP SNAPSHOT: The Wine RayZyn Company
Company Name (Location): The Wine RayZyn Company (Napa Valley, CA)
Founders/Owners (and their roles): The company was co-founded by Chris and Andrew Cates, who are father and son.
- Andrew Cates resides and manages Segassia Vineyard on Mount Veeder. He is a vineyard owner, farmer, and beekeeper. He leads Sales and Operations on the West Coast.
- Chris Cates, M.D., is a world-renowned cardiologist who is passionate about the health benefits of wine. Dr. Cates is the CEO.
Business Start Date: Founded in 2014. The first year was spent doing R&D and working on our patent-pending drying process. We also used that time to secure trademarks and other essential items. We did a trial launch in Napa in the summer of 2015. It was tremendously successful, so we launched with two SKUs of CabernayZyns at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco in January 2016. We have spent the last six months creating all new packaging and extending our product line to seven SKUs with more to come soon.
Briefly Describe Your Work/Business: Our company specially dries California wine grapes and turns them into crunchy superfood snacks. We harvest these premium wine grapes at the peak of their flavor and then specially dry them with the seeds and stems intact. The stems act as nature’s cork, preserving the nutrients and flavor within the grape. During the patent-pending drying process, the nutritious seed is toasted, giving it great crunch and nutty flavor. We then remove the stems and package the dried fruit. Our products are all natural, vegan, and gluten free. They have no preservatives or artificial flavors and are naturally sweet.
What Compelled You to Pursue This Business? The Wine RayZyn Company is a family-owned company with a mission to deliver healthy snack foods to consumers who are replacing traditional meals with robust snacking, while also supporting sustainability efforts through offering vineyards a way to maximize their grape yield. It is our team’s passion and love for wine, promoting healthy foods, and sustainability that lead to the creation of this business. Also, because we are a close family, we wanted to create something together and for future generations.
Two Goals for Your First Two Years in Business? (1) Create a disruptive healthy snack alternative … something that is a true superfood. (2) Drive awareness and distribution so that we can turn the snack food category on its head.
What’s Your “Secret Sauce”? (What Makes Your Business Stand Out and Primed for Success?) The secret is in the wine grape skins and seeds. For the first time ever, we have created a way for humans to enjoy eating wine grape skins and seeds (which have extremely high antioxidant profiles). Many people know that grape seed oil and like items are good for you, so what is better than eating the seeds (and skins) in their whole form?
To choose one differentiator, however, it would be the seeds that make our dried wine grapes so crunchy, nutty, and delicious. During the patent-pending drying process, the nutritious seed is toasted, giving it great crunch and a nutty flavor. (If you have ever eaten a grape seed that has not been through our drying process, [you may have seen that] it can be extremely bitter and hard.)
Also, we are successful because of our idea, product, processes, and team. We knew we had a great “idea” for a business when everyone said, “Wow, why didn’t anyone else think of that?” Our product is a premium, high-quality superfood that is right on trend in terms of its health benefits, nonperishable nature, and snack properties. The work we did in 2014 in terms of R&D and securing trademarks and patents is also huge for us. And, our team is amazing. We have the right people in the right spots.