The story of the Aspen Lane Wine Company begins with Bob and Sonya Evanosky and their three sons: identical twins John and Christopher and their younger brother, Jack. Each of the boys were diagnosed in 2005 with a fatal genetic disease known as metachromatic leukodystrophy (MLD).
Inspired to make a difference and give back to the many organizations who support families like theirs, in 2010 Bob and Sonya together decided Bob would leave a successful career in aviation to form Aspen Lane. And though Aspen Lane has only been around for a few years, it already boasts 10 high-quality wines and has created a variety of private labels for nearly 100 companies and individuals, including one of Chicago’s billionaire philanthropists.
An accomplished home winemaker, Bob had the idea to combine his passion for wine with a for-profit business that would provide recurring income to select not-for-profit organizations that serve both children and adults with disabilities. In developing
the Aspen Lane business plan, Sonya and Bob met with the Paul Newman Foundation, which has given away over $400 million to charities through sales of the actor’s salad dressing and learned that there were about 20 other businesses in the U.S. using a similar business model…but none of them dealt with wine.
The first step in executing on this plan was, of course, making good wine. Sourcing grapes from top wine producing regions like the state of Washington, Aspen Lane produces high-quality wines with remarkable flavor and reliable drinkability. Producing a wide range of varietals has expanded the appeal of Aspen Lane whether you are a fan of reds or whites. Both the diversity and consistency of their wines have contributed to a loyal and growing following extending beyond the Chicagoland home of the winery.
“We work hard to create consistent taste profiles from year-to-year, so if you like one vintage, you will enjoy
the following year’s vintage just as much or maybe
even more.”, smiles Bob.
Unlike a typical fund-raiser or one-time donation, the execution of their business plan has created a cash flow engine that generates a repeatable source of income for the various not-for-profit partners of Aspen Lane. After costs, 100% percent of the money from every bottle goes to their partner charities such as Marklund, MidAmerica Service Dogs, Indian Prairie Educational Foundation, Fox Valley Special Recreation Association, DayOne PACT, the Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry and
the Aurora Veterans Advisory Council.
“Seeing our vision to use wine as a catalyst for change actually become a reality is remarkably rewarding”, observes Bob. “While our small-batch winery will likely never become a Mondavi or a Kendall-Jackson, we have a lot of fun making great wine and seeing the profits support organizations that do so much for people with disabilities.” Cheers! IIII
To learn more and to purchase Aspen Lane wine,
And for more information about MLD,