A Classy Buzz at Vino Volo

Courtesy photo

Should you find yourself cooling your heels in our fair airport this summer travel season (thanks Southwest—I could have driven to Houston by the time you got me there), may I suggest a diversion: Vino Volo. Though it is a chain, it is nevertheless in line with a refreshing trend: airport food and drink that’s not food-court fatuous. Locally, Johnny Hernandez (La Gloria) and Lisa Wong (Rosario’s) have both established terminal outposts.

And refreshing is good when waiting for a much-delayed flight. As the name suggests, wines are the primary focus, though there is also a single beer. And there are also several small plates, some of which change seasonally. Consider the charcuterie board, the roasted tomato soup, the roasted lamb meatballs with a mint/parsley pesto or even the duck rillettes with fig jam—surprising, right? But as you’re waiting on an actual flight (thanks again, Southwest), let me suggest one of VV’s wine flights as a substitute: they do them well. And they arrive quickly.

I had time for two of them, Shades of White (three generous tastes for $11) and World Value Reds (three for $9); they were not knee-jerk selections but were instead distinctive wines calculated to play off one another. These will have changed for summer, but the whites were a Sicilian blend, a California chardonnay and a New Zealand sauvignon blanc, each of which I would happily have drunk more of; the reds were a Sicilian nero d’avola, an Argentine malbec and a Spanish tempranillo, two of which pulled my chain. Spending $15 for a flight of reds would have got you a California syrah, an Aussie shiraz and a Texas tannat.

If traveling with friends—or if you anticipate a really long delay—wines by the bottle are a serious option, and this gives one the opportunity to explore VV’s wine-character rating system. It consists of a square divided into four quadrants: upper left is labelled “bright,” upper right “rich,” lower right “brooding” and lower left “light.” A dot located within the matrix indicates VV’s evaluation of the wine in question. If already pouting due to delay, I don’t suggest seeking out “brooding,” but maybe that’s over-thinking things.

There’s another rating system in play at chez VV, and it has more to do with quality, as follows: First Class, Business Class, Coach, Middle Seat, Baggage Compartment. It seems there’s not too much on offer that qualifies as “baggage”—at least there wasn’t in my experience. And for that experience, thanks Southwest. And this time I mean it.

Vino Volo

Terminal A
San Antonio International Airport
(210) 804-2233
9am-9pm Mon-Sat, 10am-10pm Sun