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A Toast to Kindred Spirits

A Lifelong Bond Builds an Inspiring Business Partnership

Right here on Mercer Island, lifelong friends Cori Omundson and Sandy Everingham are celebrating the power of perfect pairings – those between kindred spirits, and fine wine with good company.

Cori and Sandy's kindred spirits first connected through the mischief of childhood in Great Falls, Montana. Between bike rides around town and weekend sleepovers, the two became inseparable. But when Sandy's family moved away in elementary school, their paths diverged.

Remarkably, years later, Sandy’s family ended up moving right back to the same neighborhood as Cori's family. The two friends effortlessly picked up right where they left off, reconnecting in middle school over their shared love of adventure. Though they lost touch again when Sandy moved away once more after 8th grade, fate had more in store for these destined friends.

Over 20 years later in 2008, Sandy decided to search for Cori on a whim through social media. She was thrilled to discover Cori was living close by in Seattle too! Adding to this serendipity, the childhood friends had both settled on Mercer Island as adults.

After rediscovering each other, Cori introduced Sandy to her passion for artisanal wines produced through sustainable practices and generations-old winemaking methods. Their regular tastings reopened Sandy’s long-held dream of entering the wine business. Sandy had been separately developing a passion for wine through her excursions to eastern Washington and Oregon in search of “another” hidden gem.

Soon a vision unfurled: why not start an online direct-to-consumer marketplace to showcase intimate, family-owned wineries? And so, Rising Wines Collective was born from two spirited women rediscovering their kindred friendship, and a shared love of wine, right in their own backyard on Mercer Island.

Rising Wines Collective honors Cori and Sandy’s own story of serendipitous friendship. Its name reflects their mission to lift small producers, while the branding for their personal labels was specially designed by Cori’s daughters, incorporating personal meaning.

Oddly enough, the pandemic proved that online sales were not only possible, but they were also a customer preference. Online wine sales have grown nearly 8 times since pre-pandemic levels and the growth will continue. Rising Wines Collective hopes to fill the void caused by most winemakers resorting to conventional methods of marketing vs. leaning into the very success they were forced to rely on during Covid.

The online platform partners exclusively with family-run winemakers focusing on traditional techniques perfected over generations. Here, small-production hidden gems shine that would otherwise get lost among mass distribution. This is the niche for Rising Wines Collective. Sandy is always looking for the next small producer to shine and promote on the platform.

As business partners, Cori and Sandy walk in step, guided by the same mutual trust, empathy and communication that has sustained their lifelong bond. At Rising Wines Collective, they have cultivated a team that shares their relentless positivity and drive.

For Cori and Sandy, wine is woven into the fabric of friendship. Their unique wines, like their enduring relationship, are enriched by time and care. At Rising Wines Collective, two spirited women are leveraging the power of perfect pairings – those between kindred souls and fine wine shared in great company.

As they say, the best partnerships, like the finest wines, only improve with age. Cori and Sandy’s lifetime of serendipity proves that some bonds evolve into ones that uplift us all.

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