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Wine “Takes Off” at Airports

Gartner_magic_quadrant_1I’m in technology by profession.  Technology and wine have a lot in common in that anybody that buys either one can do so only with validation from a third party.  In the technology analyst space there’s a company called Gartner that essentially research’s technology in order to categorize their relative value against the competition and then they put together these research summaries with graphics called Magic Quadrants and then decision-maker’s read them to figure out if all of the spin you’ve been giving them the past 4 months is valid or not.  But, then you can sponsor research from the same people and it really ends up being like advertising in the Spectator—on either side people swear that money doesn’t have an influence, but we all really know the truth.


Vinochart2_1The Magic Quadrant is interesting in this sense because a new wine concept has opened up at Dulles Airport called Vino Volo.  Vino Volo (stands for wine flight in Italian) utilizes a very, very similar concept translated to the world of wine to categorize wine into four flavor profiles: 
1)  Bright                    2)  Rich
3)  Light                     4)  Brooding

It’s an interesting concept in that they are combining tasting flights with food and retail at an airport with shipping.

I question the 4th category—brooding, though.  That’s not really a word that resonates with people that have a likely affinity for wine.  But it also strikes me as something that people labor on in a room for a while and then say, "Ah, to hell with it, I can’t think of anything else and my wife is blowing up my cell phone."  "Brooding, it is."  Then the intern writes a line item on his resume about his participation in brainstorming sessions at Taste, Inc. the company that operates Vino Volo. 

Another interesting airport concept is the regional wine bar featuring wines of notable local distinction.  The wine writing duo at the Wall Street Journal reported on this last year, and here’s an excerpt from their syndicated column.  The entire article can be found here.

At Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina, tuckedinto a little space on the way to Concourses D and E, is the best ideain airplane travel since the jet engine: the Yadkin Valley Wine Bar.The day we were there, the bar offered 57 different wines from ninewineries in the Yadkin Valley region of North Carolina—a glass for$5, a taste of four wines for $3. This is such a terrific idea, bothfor travelers and for local wine industries, that airports and vintnersthroughout the country should follow suit—and, in fact, several areconsidering the idea.

All in all, I expect to see a continued proliferation of wine concepts as the idea takes root in a significant growth pattern.

And, just as soon as we think there’s a saturation point, it will likely explode beyond the expectations of everybody that follows wine as more then just a passing hobby.  10 years ago we did not have 3 things that today seem intrinsic to our daily life:  the Internet, cell phones, & Starbucks.

Wine is heading down that same path.


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