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Meet Trailblazer Emily Josenhans

Today we’d like to introduce you to Emily Josenhans.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
With a love for French wine and a desire to offer a healthy, yet delicious sugar alternative, Domaine Santé Grape Nectar was born. I have found that sugar intake is such a widespread struggle in my consulting and counseling work as a nutritionist. Yet, I have never been comfortable recommending highly processed options like Stevia. Grape Nectar gives a healthier, lower carb, lower calorie option as compared with nearly any natural sweetener on the market, without sacrificing taste and quality. I knew that there was a lot of potential for something as unique as Grape Nectar to disrupt the sugar market.

My husband’s additional expertise and innovation in food and beverage has helped shape the formulation of the product and drive the bar and restaurant focus that has been so widely accepting of Grape Nectar. We started out pitching the product to every friend, colleague, and industry professional we knew. The response was overwhelmingly positive, which was what fueled my motivation and determination to grow the brand. Grape Nectar quickly went from a “side hustle” between clients to a full time job.

I then took the leap into forming a farmer’s market business and started growing a local buzz at the Northpark and Little Italy Farmer’s Markets. Since then, Domaine Santé is in over 50 San Diego restaurants, bars, and shops and we are now distributed in three states. Our small team has grown into an army of product educators, out-of-the-box marketers, and are involved in the community in many facets. There have been extra hurdles in creating a new product on the market, but it seems that Southern Californians aren’t the only ones looking for a better sugar option!

I ultimately love that the product speaks to mixologists, chefs, and “healthy foodies” alike. Our product is really a win-win when you consider both taste and health benefits, and we love sharing it with everyone. And in turn, I take pride that I know the farms and vineyards our grapes come from and can speak on the quality of every aspect of our process. From harvest to manufacturing to bottling to presenting it to customers and accounts, I am truly proud of California Grape Nectar.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
My background is solely in providing a service, so marketing a physical product, and a new product on the market at that, has been quite a learning curve. I have had to learn how to wear many hats to run a growing business that I have no experience with. I am definitely a highly motivated person, so it has been exciting carving the path for Domaine Santé, but there have also been times of struggle. There have been times I have thought, “Wouldn’t it be easier to work a 9-5 job?”

But in the long run, there has never been anything as challenging and fulfilling as building a company from square one. If you are passionate and have a product that you truly believe in, you will find a way to work through all obstacles. And although there are still many more on the horizon for our company, I have gained the confidence to believe we can work through anything to achieve all of our goals. I don’t think any other field provides that feeling.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Domaine Santé – what should we know?
We produce an alternative to sugar, honey, agave, and maple syrup made exclusively from California’s second largest crop: wine grapes. California Grape Nectar is a first-of-its-kind sweetener that elevates any dish or beverage you are adding it to. It’s complex flavors and aromatics really compliment a wide range of foods from breakfast foods to marinades and salad dressings to desserts and add another dimension in cocktails as well. One simple ingredient with endless application in creating new flavors.

To add: Grape Nectar is one of the only California-sourced, certified vegan sweeteners on the market.

We have developed three blends that give homage to French winemaking traditions and regions, each with their own very unique flavor profiles, just as the grapes themselves. Chefs, mixologists, and health food consumers alike have an overwhelming love for using Grape Nectar in their craft.

We would love everyone to try out our Grape Nectars in their home kitchen and bar!

Finding a mentor and building a network are often cited in studies as a major factor impacting one’s success. Do you have any advice or lessons to share regarding finding a mentor or networking in general?
Surrounding yourself in the community with like-minded individuals is a highly motivating and fantastic resource. We love sharing tidbits we have learned along the way to try to make another brand’s path a little smoother and so many have done the same for us.

We started in farmer’s markets, which is an amazing test market for new food and craft brands. You get invaluable feedback from the consumer and can share ideas with other entrepreneurs that are maneuvering the exact same waters.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Hannah Sierpina, Tom King Photography

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