Vino Volo: A story of passion, pride and people

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At The Moodie Report we like to champion those companies and individuals who put passion and heart into the way they run their businesses. Few do so with such commitment as the team at Vino Volo, the fast-growing US wine bar operator and retailer.

Even if you’re not a wine enthusiast, you’d find it hard to remain unmoved by the enthusiasm and vigour with which CEO and Founder Doug Tomlinson and his team talk about wine. Last week at the Airport Revenue News Conference & Exhibition in Las Vegas, invited guests (principally airport companies and other business partners, plus The Moodie Report) had the chance to experience their passion, through a rare wine tasting event.

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Vino Volo Founder Doug Tomlinson talks of his passion for wine, and how his team transmits that to the travelling consumer

The company hosted one of its ‘Taste Like A Master’ programmes with the aid of Master Sommelier (one of fewer than 200 worldwide) Jay James. This involved a blind tasting, one element of the Master Sommelier exam that only around five people per year pass. (Judging by your correspondent’s failed attempts at identifying nose and flavour correctly, The Moodie Report won’t be boasting a Master Sommelier for a while yet…)

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Jay James takes ARN delegates through a journey of the senses

A hugely entertaining and enlightening evening was boosted by the presence of three of the wine makers (of the six wines tasted), from the famed Napa Valley and Russian River Valley regions of California: James Hall of Patz & Hall (who produced a stunning Pinot Noir), Gus Gamba of Gamba Vineyards (Zinfandel) and Scott Shirley of Justin Vineyards & Winery (Cabernet Sauvignon).

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James Hall, Winemaker at artisanal winery Patz & Hall, on the creation of his magnificent Chenoweth Ranch Pinot Noir

Each of them produces artisan wines (only a few thousand cases of each are available for purchase) of the highest quality, and listening to them speak underlined the love that went into each of their small batch vintages.

It’s that passion these wine makers share with the Vino Volo team, which invests heavily to ensure its people (‘wine associates’, not servers) visit and discover first-hand the wineries with which it works.

Summing up what he calls the wine “movement”, Doug Tomlinson told guests: “We are trying to ensure airports can be placed where wine is discovered and enjoyed. We want it to be accessible, for novices and experts alike. This is about bringing wine country to you.”


The Vino Volo team collect one of their six awards at the ARN event in Las Vegas last week

Vino Volo’s passion for its business is increasingly being recognised around the industry too. The company is already a serial winner at The Moodie Report-organised Food & Beverage (FAB) Awards. And last week the company won six Airport Revenue News awards in Las Vegas, including an unprecedented double as Best Overall Retailer and Best Overall F&B Concessionaire (each in the Small Airports category).

Deserved reward for a company that puts its investment – in infrastructure and people – where its heart is.


Vino Volo: Taking the fine wine message to airport travellers

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