A candlelit dinner wouldn’t be complete without a wine glass. Jon Demo’s Wick & Wine business is an innovative twist on a classic combination, turning wine bottles into glasses and scented candles. How does a mulled wine candle and having a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon while seated by the fire sound?
When summer season hit the East End in 2015, as the influx of tourism congested roadways, North Forker Jon Demo’s only thought was how to get a piece of the profitable pie. It also happened to be around the same time he discovered he was going to be a father. His daughter, Gabriella, is now two-and-a-half years old.
Surrounded by Long Island’s Wine Country, it felt only natural to create a business model in line with the area. “It wasn’t until a friend of mine that makes candles told me all about the margins and demand for quality natural candles that I put two and two together,” he said. A few short weeks later, in a moment of serendipity, a wine bottle broke in his home in a precise manner that inspired the design for his candles. And so, this Peconic-based business was born. “I decided to go full swing and try to make it a business knowing I had a little one coming,” Demo explained, ensuring that his workload is cleared by the weekend for some father-daughter time.
The wine bottle candles are repurposed 1.5 liter Bordeaux bottles, collected from Pellegrini Vineyards and Castello Di Borghese in Cutchogue, made with all-natural soy wax and unique scented blends infused with essential oils. Upon receiving each bottle, it is cut twice, smoothed, fire polished, and then annealed for several hours. Once this is complete, the two pieces are brought into what Demo calls “the clean room,” where the candles are poured, labeled, and packaged. All production is done by hand and in house. Although, as big retailers become interested in the company, Demo is exploring the idea of outsourcing part of the work.
Each year, approximately 3.6 billion bottles wind up in landfills, but Wick & Wine helps repurpose them. “Knowing that I’m able to do some good for the environment by recycling just adds to the motivation of making this company a huge success,” added Demo.
Demo formerly ran the business solo, on top of obtaining two other jobs to pay all the bills. That hardship changed when Wick & Wine recently won The Spur’s i-Hamptons entrepreneurial start-up event, Riptide $ink or $wim, in November of this year. Winning awarded the business $20,000 in grant funding. As holiday orders pick up, a portion of the money thus far has gone towards hiring two employees to fill the high demand, which has increased productivity five-fold.
“It gave me some great exposure. Ashley Heather over at The Spur is absolutely amazing for what he does for young entrepreneurs,” he said. Thank God I have their help because in many ways I’m still learning as I go. There’s always something new to learn and I’m grateful to have a hub that wants to teach me.”
Demo anticipates marketing his product as wedding favors or centerpieces.
Wick & Wine is currently in 17 stores including in California, Texas, and New York, with a goal of hitting 100 locations by this time in 2019. As Demo continues to explore the online retail sales market, he hopes to expand his brick and motor store productions. As dreams get bigger and demand continues to grow, Demo always keeps things in perspective. “My greatest accomplishment will always be my little girl,” he said.
Look for special holiday pricing and gifts at www.wickandwine.com or call 631-315-5400.