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Vino 100 proprietor seeks to educate on vino

By Fletcher Word
La Prensa Staff Writer

A year ago, Diana Treviño-Whitman was, quite frankly, pretty fed up with the world of wine.

Treviño-Whitman and George Burk, her boyfriend, were trying to make sense of the whole netherworld of varietal grapes and why a $50 bottle of wine should be that much better than a $10 bottle, but they just weren’t making any progress.

“We were drinking wine and making a lot of mistakes, buying expensive wines and not enjoying them,” says Treviño-Whitman recalling the frustration the couple felt. “We felt out of place with wines whose names we couldn’t pronounce. No one was much help. We thought ‘there has got to be a better way to do this.’”

As they were reading wine magazines one day, they came upon an advertisement for a wine store franchise that promised to make the process easier for customers. They researched the operation and realized, says Whitman, “this is the way it should be—we can educate people, make it fun, and keep it simple.”

That advertisement was for Vino 100, a franchise operation that promised to deliver to its clientele “one hundred great wines for $25 or less.”

Whitman and Burk signed up and took a week’s sojourn to the company’s headquarters in Philadelphia where they sampled wine after wine, gaining the knowledge that the budding entrepreneurs would need when they opened up their own store.

These days, Whitman not only knows a lot more about wine and enjoys her wine that much more, she is also in position to share that joy with those in the Toledo area. She and Burk are the proprietors of their own store in Maumee.

This daughter of migrant workers, and graduate of Waite High School, has her own business and, so far, it has been every bit as rewarding as she had anticipated.

The Vino 100 concept to make the process of buying wine simpler, and less expensive, rests on two principles. First, the wines are organized, says Whitman, according “to taste.” As a customer walks into the shop, charts under the wine describe the taste and the wines are arranged from the sweetest to the driest so that anyone can quickly go to that section with the greatest personal appeal.

Second, the company purchases from small vintners, not from the big names such as Mondavi, Fetzer, or Jordan. The lesser known vintners often have not caught the attention of the rating services, so their prices have not been driven up by the demand that a good rating would generate.

That purchase policy keeps the prices reasonable at a retail level.

There are 29 Vino 100 stores throughout the nation, says Whitman, but only one so far in Ohio. Her store, at 3355 Briarfield Blvd, near Carrabba’s, has been opened since September and along with its regular hours of operation, the owners offer special affairs for companies in the evening, wine tastings and lessons on what to look for in a wine. Anyone can walk in the store and sample four different wines for $2.

Confused about what to pour at the dinner table with a roast chicken? Vino 100’s helpful descriptions attached to each wine can help you match the right wine with your meal.

Because in vino veritas, as the ancients used to say, there is truth in wine.

Editors Note: Vino 100 is open 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. six days a week. For more information on the store call 419-866-8466 or visit www.vino100.com.





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