Given his background in film and graphic design, Jon Demo never envisioned spending his days making candles in his basement. Now, however, the Mattituck resident hopes to make a name for his business, Wick and Wine Candle Company, at shops and boutiques across the country.
Since last year, Demo, 31, has been creating soy wax candles contained in repurposed wine bottles. He currently offers 10 wine-scented varieties, which are sold wholesale to local stores and vineyards.
“I wanted to make a candle that was special,” he said.
A California native, Demo moved to Mattituck when he was 5 years old. Growing up on the North Fork, he said, he knew the wine industry and thought a wine bottle would be the perfect way to represent a local product.
But candles made from wine or beer bottles rarely use the entire bottle, Demo said.
That’s exactly what sets his candles apart from similar products, Demo said. He also uses the narrow end of the bottle by inverting it and turning it into a wineglass that’s packaged with the candle.
“It was so instant for me to think [the top] should be a wine glass,” he said.
The box opens to reveal what appears to be a standard 1.5-liter wine bottle. The bottom half contains the candle and the package includes a stem base that turns the top half into a glass, as well as a box of Wick and Wine matches and a top to snuff out the candle. Demo said the burn time on the candle is 200 hours.
Earlier this year, Demo began marketing his products by participating in multiple celebrity gifting suites in New York and other PR events. His candles officially hit the wholesale market in July and became available this month for retail sale. They can be ordered online at wickandwine.com and can be found locally at The Market in Greenport.
Demo said he and longtime friend Frank Heid, now his business partner, spend hours together in his workshop and make about 100 candles a week.
Another hometown friend who has helped is Giovanni Borghese, co-owner of Castello Di Borghese Vineyard in Cutchogue. Demo gets all his wine bottles from Borghese, who said he’s happy to support a friend and local start-up.
“I’m a big advocate for finding uses for byproducts of the winemaking process,” said Borghese, who also sells the candles at his vineyard. He said it’s common for wineries in the area to find ways to repurpose things like old corks and barrels.
“I’m a fan of helping to get the vineyard or the region name out there, whether it be through wine or things that come from wine,” Borghese said. “It’s all positive and goes toward the same effort.”
Companies that buy wholesale from Wick and Wine can also choose to customize the product with their own logos. Borghese takes advantage of this option and Demo hopes other local vineyards and shops will soon do the same.
But his vision for Wick and Wine extends well beyond New York and he has a list of ways he wants to expand his brand in the future. He hopes, for example, to someday have his North Fork-made product at wineries in California and at different boutiques and shops across the country.
For now, however, he’s happy with the start of his business and said he loves the freedom of being his own boss and seeing his own hard work pay off.
“I like always being able to create,” he said.