Smooth and sultry sounds of live jazz filled the room, broken from time to time by the laughter and chatter of customers. The lights were set to a romantic dimness, and the air was lightly grazed with aromas if Italy. With such a warm environment and welcoming appeal, it is no surprise Ciao Vino Wine Bar has received such outstanding community support.
“We’re growing, and we’ve had increased sales every month since we’ve been open,” said Patrick Laguens, manager of Ciao Vino.
Since its opening 14 months ago, Ciao Vino received the Wine Spectator Award for its enormous selection of 350 bottles of wine. Ciao Vino also features 47 types of fresh wine by the glass. They carry wine and beer from all over the world, including Israel, Greece, France, Italy and South Africa.
“I’ve been to many places, and nobody had remotely the amount of wine that we have by the glass,” Laguens said.
Ciao Vino’s mission statement says, “Learning about wine by teaching others about wine,” and there is definitely a great deal of learning going on there.
On Saturdays, Ciao Vino offers a two-hour wine tasting education class. For $25, participants learn the history of wine and the best climates in which to grow grapes. They also get to taste samples of food and wine.
Along with Ciao Vino customers, employees of the wine bar are constantly learning as well.
Each employee is required to write 3-5 page papers every two weeks about wine. As employees learn, they are more educated and prepared to discuss wine and answer questions for customers. There is even a small reference library of books about wine in the back of the store for employees to turn to when there are questions they cannot answer.
“We’re not coming off like we know everything and everyone else doesn’t,” Laguens said. “It’s about learning together.”
Ciao Vino offers a flight system on their menu, which allows customers to taste a variety of food and wine to figure out what they like best. Wine flights change every month, but the flights always feature three types of wine from a single category.
The menu, offers choices of nine cheeses, meats and vegetables. Ciao Vino prepares their own soups, salads and deserts. They also cure their own seafood. n