MOUNT VERNON — After two years of searching for the right place to start their new business, Tom and Laura Noonen found the home at 6400 Newark Road to be the perfect spot. Located on the outskirts of Mount Vernon, Vino Where You Live is not just any wine shop but a place where wine lovers can enjoy an inviting atmosphere and great wine from Ohio, as well as national and international wineries.
For the Noonens, it all started 14 years ago with a gift of wine. From there, Laura’s interest was sparked and she wanted to learn more about wines.
“Laura’s been a wine enthusiast for a while,” said Tom. “And she has educated me on that aspect of things and turned me into a wine enthusiast. Through the course of that, she discovered the Ohio wines.”
They also found that if consumers wanted to get Ohio wines they had to visit the winery or try to find one of the few distributors, said Tom. “But they are the kind of stores where it’s on the shelf — you go there, you browse, and you pick a bottle off the shelf. There is, really, as far as I know, nothing like this where you can come in and sample the wine before you take it home.”
“It was Laura’s dream to create a place like this where people can come and find a wide selection of Ohio wines in a very unique atmosphere,” said Tom. “This place is designed to make people feel at home and to make them sit down and feel like having a conversation with their friends. This is a place where you’re welcome to linger.”
The Noonens bought the house in March and during the summer and into fall, finished the renovations.
“I knew I wanted it in an alternative structure, not a storefront. I didn’t want it to look or feel like you were at a common store,” said Laura.
With over 100 wineries in Ohio, the Noonens found themselves a strong supporter for area wineries and the wide variety they offer.
“Whatever you like you can find, if you like dry reds not only are they made [in Ohio] but grown here. Our focus is going to be Ohio wines, though we do have national and international wines,” said Tom.
When customers come in they have the option to sit in the wine bar, sun room, dining room or out on the patio and courtyard area to enjoy their beverage.
Customers will also be offered appetizers and hors d’oeuvre served with their drinks. “Things like cheese and crackers, olives, french bread and oils to dip in, and simple things to go with your wine tasting,” said Tom.
Vino is also looking to host special events in the coming months. “We will have guest chefs come in, occasionally, to do food and wine pairing. They will prepare an entree and then select wines to go with it. We will have ticketed events where we will have the wineries come in from around Ohio and bring in their product, explain their history, and let people taste a wide variety of their product,” said Tom.
Tom explained, Ohio wines offer character and quality customers can’t find from wines of Italy and France.
“There are high-quality dry reds, dry whites, and sweet whites and sweet reds to be found here and ice wines, and a great variety,” he said. “Our approach is not to just be a place where its on the shelf and you come in grab a bottle and go home. We are going to have flights.”
Flights allow customers to sample a variety of wines before deciding which selection they would like to purchase.
“[With flights] we can get an idea of what the people want, what’s popular and try to expose people to what they normally wouldn’t drink as well as educate people on Ohio wines,” said Tom.
Vino recently opened its doors last week but hope to continue to expand with renovation to its ground floor.
“The next renovation phase will be to turn this [the ground floor] into an art gallery,” said Tom. Acabaret theater with acoustic acts and other live entertainment is also on the horizon for the couple.
Vino will be open Wednesday to Saturday from 3 to 10 p.m., except during Thanksgiving weekend when it will be open from 5 to 10 p.m. For more information, call 397-WINE or visit them on the Web at www.vinowhereyoulive.com.