We had the good fortune of connecting with Ted Ross and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ted, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
When we launched Hayseed and Housdon we committed our brand to raising awareness and funds for local nonprofit organizations that look after members of the community that we care about. We split the profits of every bottle of wine we sell 50/50 with organizations that care for our homeless community, veterans, individuals in abusive relationships, at-risk youth, working families that need occasional financial support but don’t qualify for government programs due to their immigration status and even our local animal shelter. Every type of wine we sell is dedicated to a specific nonprofit. The consumers we engage with appreciate the effort we make to support the community as well as the opportunity they have to support that effort through their purchases. The fact that our wines are delicious doesn’t hurt!
What should our readers know about your business?
Starting Hayseed and Housdon was an opportunity to make good on a promise that I made to myself for many years while pursuing success in my initial career – which was to someday spend more of my time and mental energy “giving back.” In retrospect, this promise was really something of an excuse or rationalization for not doing as much then as I potentially could have to help others or support my community. Once I retired from a career in marketing it became “put up or shut up” time; a chance for the sake of my own conscience to finally do something for the benefit of others rather than myself. We at Hayseed and Housdon are very proud to say that in only two years in business, and still very much in start-up mode, we have raised tens of thousands of dollars for six different local nonprofit organizations. We have a goal of raising even more, of course, as we continue to attract more consumers; sell more wine.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well I’d work on arranging a barrel tasting experience for them of our wines, Anglim wines and Diablo Paso wines since I truly believe that these are some of the best wines in California! Of course there are many, many other fine wineries in the Paso Robles AVA. It’s what this area is all about and the more I think about the bounty that we are surrounded by the more I feel bad for people who do not or can not enjoy wine! Our food scene, particularly given Paso’s tiny population, is also very remarkable. Normally in a California town of only 30,000 people, one would be lucky to find a single good (and likely to be Mexican) restaurant! When friends visit we try our best to introduce them to il Cortile, La Cosecha, BL Brasserie, Thomas Hill Organics, The Hatch and if dining late, Alchemist Garden. Depending on the friend, we might manage to stumble into the Pine Street Salon for karaoke. Or shots.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Winemaking is historically a collaborative, community effort and it remains so here in the Paso Robles AVA. It takes more than a single set of hands or brain to make wine, and we would not be successful in this endeavor if it were not able to mentor under two very talented winemakers. We give thanks to Enrique Torres, who along with his spouse Nora owns Diablo Paso winery. After working to support Enrique and Nora for a few years while they launched their brand, Enrique offered me the opportunity to begin making wines of my own and start Hayseed and Housdon. Enrique continues to collaborate with us on a wine we call La Macha which raises awareness and funds for 805UndocuFund, one of our nonprofit partners. We also would like to extend our appreciation to Steve and Steffanie Anglim who own Anglim Winery – a custom crush winery located in the Tin City area of Paso Robles. In addition to producing their own beautiful wines at their production facility, the Anglims assist many other small wine producers (like Hayseed and Housdon) that do not yet have the financial wherewithal to invest in the very expensive equipment and technologies necessary for commercial wine production. But for the Anglims, we would have neither the facility nor tools required to do what we do.