Jet Set Sips

Airport wine bars offer an escape.

Anything that can make airline travel more enjoyable is a welcome development, so beleagured travelers take heart: The May opening of Vino Volo at John F. Kennedy International Airport in the new American Airlines Terminal marks the fifth such launch for the leader of upscale wine bars at airports (Vino Volo is derived from "wine flight" in Italian).

"There's a real need for this concept," says Vino Volo's founder and CEO, Doug Tomlinson. "We are planning to open as many as 50 Vino Volo stores in the next five years." Other current Vino Volo locations are in Baltimore-Washington International Airport (which just opened in March), Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Sacramento International Airport, and Washington, DC's Dulles International Airport.

Much like airport day spas for massages and more, wine bars offer a sophisticated retreat from the travails of airline travel. Other wine bar options currently include Charlotte Douglas International's Yadkin Valley Wine Bar (featuring excellent North Carolina wines from Shelton Vineyards and many others), La Bodega Winery at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (pouring wines from La Bodega and other wineries), and the Rose City Café & Wine Bar at Portland International Airport (focusing on northwest wines and cuisine).

Tomlinson points out that all Vino Volo stores are located beyond security (Portland's excellent option is pre-security). This means frequent fliers (and tasters) can purchase and carry bottles onboard their flight. Along with unique rotating flights ("World Value Reds" and "Shades of White" are current favorites), Vino Volo is also focusing on food pairings (which sure beat the cardboard boxes often found in coach—if anything is served at all). 

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