From the moment you walk up to Vino Volo at Tysons Galleria, you immediately feel transported from Metropolitan D.C. to the middle of wine country by way of rustic wood and rosemary bushes. Upon entering the venue, the feeling only grows.
Vino Volo at Tysons opened Sept. 19, launching the shop’s second urban location. However, you’ve probably spotted the wine bar-restaurant and boutique shop at a number of airports across the country, as their 30th location opens in LAX this week. The fused bar and shop is no stranger to the D.C. area. Its first location opened in Dulles International Airport in 2005 and its first urban location in Bethesda, Md., in 2012.
“Our most loyal customer base is in D.C. area,” said Sarah Evans, Vino Volo’s marketing specialist. “They were the ones asking us to move out of the airport.”
Doug Tomlinson founded Vino Volo in 2004. As a management consultant for Deloitte and one who often traveled through airports searching for a good glass of wine to enjoy with colleagues, Doug found a gap in the market where guests were being underserved.
“I have always had a passion for wine, and believe there is nothing better than opening a great bottle to share with love ones,” Doug said.
He wanted to bring wine country in the airports to give travelers a chance to relax and enjoy wine.
“Our goal is really ‘wine country casual’,” Sarah said. “Whether it’s California or Tuscany, we try to take the best of wine country from all over and bring it to our locations.”
Vino Volo is derived from “Wine Flight” in Italian. The wine bar specializes in hand selected flights of wine that include tastings of three paired wines each served at 1/3 of a glass. The flights are presented on a metal tray with a description under each glass giving details of the wine including where it was made, the specific grape and description of flavors along with Vino Volo’s signature taste graph.
The shop caters to a growing demographic as it expands out of terminals. From the most experienced to those just discovering wine, Vino Volo serves anyone who has a passion for wine.
At Vino Volo Tysons, Virginia wines and Maryland cheeses highlight the menu, along with other small plates including salads and roasted cauliflower. The restaurant also has dinner plates and pizza. According to Sarah, sourcing local is important to Vino Volo. The shop strives to give customers the experience of wine country, while focusing on smaller, lesser known boutique wineries, without stepping foot outside.
Wine flights and selections change seasoning in the shop, with Thanksgiving table wines right around the corner, and celebratory sparklers when the New Year arrives.
Each location’s staff selects the wines, and Vino Volo also has a national sourcing manager.According to Doug, the teams at each store work hard to cultivate relationships with local wineries, often making trips to taste wines and meet winemakers on location.
A quarter of the wines listed on the menu are the same at every location for consistency. Sarah ensures that all the staff are equal opportunity wine drinkers and will try anything. Doug’s current favorite is a pinot noir from Dumol, a small winery in California.
“Our goal is to become the world’s favorite wine destination. Our guests are always asking for a Vino Volo in their home airport or neighborhood, so we plan to continue opening them in North America and beyond,” Doug said.
Vino Volo will be expanding to airports in Monteral, Austin, Boston and Columbus, Ohio in the coming months.
With rapid growth, and a heart for the D.C. area, it’s easier than ever to find your way into a Vino Volo shop. Welcome to wine country in your own backyard.