Señor Sengria, the homegrown wine with its roots in Hoboken, recently said it launched in six additional Midwest states in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
Founder Rick Martinez said his passion was born out of a home recipe for making sangria to share with family and friends and was such a hit that his friends started sharing it with their friends and giving it as gifts. He never imagined that it would become a thriving business.
“Everyone made or brought something over, it was casual and fun, and the focus was on spending time together. I made sangria because I really didn’t know how to cook back then,” Martinez said.
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In 2006, what sounded like a crazy idea at first was emboldened by the lack of quality bottled sangria. There were far fewer choices for bottled sangria. There were four or five brands that had been around a long time. Most of them were used as a base for people making their own sangria at home. There weren’t any sangria brands using real fruit juices and quality wine.
“We knew absolutely nothing about the alcohol industry. We didn’t have any money or connections. We did have passion,” said Martinez.
It took three years of research and development to develop a formula, secure production, licensing and so on. It took a lot of time and dedication and a bit of crazy to get into the alcohol space.
After 16 years, it feels like a small business in the sense that it remains family-owned and -operated, and their employees are like family.
Señor Sangria Classic Red and Classic White Sangria have been available in the Northeast and Florida and now are available in the Midwest. This year, the focus is on expanding the homegrown brand with a cult-like following to even more consumers across the U.S.