I had to fly through Philadelphia yesterday, on my way back from a business trip to central Pennsylvania. US Air still doesn't know how to run a pleasant, fast & efficient air line like Southwest does, and while I was annoyed by my 2nd delayed flight of the day, I noticed a "Vino Volo" bar at the next gate in "Terminal B" where I was waiting. I thought I'd give it a try.
The bartender had laid out 5"x8" two-page menus at each chair, and was talking to her sole customer as I approached. I took a long look at the 2 pages and was not impressed with the selections. For a specialty wine bar, that highlights "Flights", I had higher expectations. The magazine of opened bottles showed about a 1/3 screw tops, 1/3 fake corks, and the remainder corks that showed very young (no migration through the cork) wines bottled by negotiants / distributors. I should have turned around and left, but I still had an hour to blow before my late aircraft was going to arrive, and I was still curious. A minute or so later, the bar keep asked me - with a rather impatient tone in her voice - what I wanted to have?
I saw a flight at the bottom of the list that started off with a Martinolles Pinot Noir from the Languedoc region (2009) and it sounded nice... paired with another Pinot, the flight was $8, while the individual glasses were $11 and $12 each - pricey... but I thought maybe it would be worth it. So I says to the barkeep, my eyes still on the menu... "That Martinolles Pinot Noir Languedoc... it sounds...." and before I could finish my sentence, she had aggressively poured a normal serving sized glass of the Languedoc, plopped it on a coaster, and pushed it in front of me. Feeling a little put off... I retorted "I was going to have the flight, but you've obviously chosen for me already...". This late-20s / early 30s aggressively impatient bartender gives me a look of disgust that read "you middle aged white guys in suits are all the same". Whatever. I added "...I'll drink this one."
Fitou, maybe, if it was trying to be an aggressive wine or it was trying to cover-up some lower/lesser/poor quality. And "Cherry Cola"? Ew. In a wine? Nasty. No thank you, not a chance, whatsoever.
While I was sipping my wine another patron approached, parked his roll on luggage at one of the two near tables, and asked the bar keep for a menu. "Each table has one" she snorted back him, implying "(what, are you blind??)" - no, maybe he just thought a wine bar might actually have more than 10 or 12 selections of mediocre wines on a small 2 page listing. Silly patron. After he ordered, he asked if he could get a glass of water as well; "I only have bottled" was the bar keep's retort.
So, to sum up "Vino Volo":
- conveniently located
- surly, indignant, aggressive service who apparently did not enjoy her job
- inflated prices for the quality served (the bill came to over $12 on a $11 listed wine, so the tip I left was tiny)
- misguided marketing
- copies of "Wine Speculator" (aka "Wine Spectator", but the subscription I used to have years ago provided me with more laughs than it did insights) PROUDLY on display behind the bar.
I will be back to the Philadelphia airport on business (because I have to, not really because I want to - though they did have free WiFi which was nice throughout most of the airport) but I will not be back to "Vino Volo" again. Complete failure.
1 year ago