Vino Volo Review – Is the Airport Wine Bar Chain Worth It?

Normally when we travel via an airport, we often make a beeline straight for the lounge in order to get the lovely perks of a quiet space and, perhaps more importantly, free alcohol.

But every so often we are unable to get into our lounge of choice, typically during peak hours when the demand is at its highest and the wait for entry is longer than our time in the airport outright.

In these cases we head to a paid bar to get over our pre-flight jitters, and one such bar we only recently started visiting was the wine chain Vino Volo. If you have ever been curious about what this airport staple is like, this one is for you!

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11 Wineries in Piedmont to Check Out When Visiting

When we booked our trip to northern Italy to go wine tasting, we knew we wanted to check out a great cross-section of wineries in Piedmont.

Naturally, our first thought went heavy into checking out Barolo wineries to find out why the region is so acclaimed for Nebbiolo. But as Piedmont is more than just Barolo, we also set our sights on trying out other grape varieties like Barbera, Dolcetto (in Dogliani, specifically), Moscato (in Asti), traditional method sparkling wine, and other styles of Nebbiolo like Barbaresco and Langhe Nebbiolo to name a few.

As such, we hit an array of styles of Piedmont wineries and wanted to share a bit about each that we personally visited in this one!

Note: Most wineries in Piedmont require advance reservation when visiting. Wineries that appeared to allow walk-in tastings are noted, but please confirm this prior to visiting as tasting rules and booking requirements change regularly. To check out our full guide to planning a wine tour in Piedmont, click the previous link!

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Allegheny Wine Mixer is the Best Wine Bar in Pittsburgh

When it comes to drinking wine in our home of Pittsburgh, PA, we have no shortage of great wine bars to check out (we've been to many of them on our city blog at the previous link).

But only one wine bar stands out as being our very favorite- Allegheny Wine Mixer in Lawrenceville.

This wine bar has all of the things that we love when going out for a glass of wine in Pittsburgh- an intimate ambiance, a stellar by-the-glass menu that changes regularly, competitive prices, and so much more.

So in this one, we thought we'd share a bit more about the best wine bar in Pittsburgh!

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Kopke Port House is a Must Stop in Vila Nova di Gaia (Porto)

When visiting Portugal, you're going to have no shortage of great wine at your disposal. This country produces amazing wines from north to south, and the Douro Valley wineries are known for producing a unique fortified wine- aptly named Port.

If you can't make it to the Douro Valley on your trip (either via on your own or via a Douro Valley day tour), don't fret. Porto is a hub for all things Port wine due to the region's unique history where winemakers would ship barrels down river to Vila Nova di Gaia (a distinctly separate city just across the river from Porto) for aging and subsequent shipping abroad.

Today, many of the most famous port houses still continue to age their Port wine on the banks of the Douro River and are open to visitors for tours and tastings. The oldest of which is the Kopke House (founded in 1638). Not only is it one of the smallest tasting rooms in the area, but it was also home to our favorite tasting outright- a premium flight we call the Decade's Flight.

So in this one, we thought we'd share more about Kopke, why you should splurge on this one particular flight, and how to get a table at Casa Kopke at all as this one is quite popular!

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6 Wineries in Tri-Cities, Washington to Check Out

During our first visit to Washington, we wanted to head out to the eastern side of the state to go wine tasting. But we quickly found out that many wineries operate wine tasting rooms near Seattle as opposed to in the wine regions proper. So we stuck with wineries near Seattle and it ended up being a great trip.

When I had a chance to head to the eastern side of the state for a conference, I was ecstatic to be able to try out the wineries in Tri-Cities and its nearby surroundings (particularly Red Mountain AVA).

While I was only able to visit a handful during the visit, they ended up being quite lovely stops all around. So whether you are fans of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and others, this region is for you and we've got a number of great wineries for you to consider!

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6 of the Best Wineries in the Douro Valley to Visit

The Douro Valley in Portugal is one of the most awe-inspiring places we've been to. Not only is it the oldest demarcated wine region in the world, we'd take it one step further and also call it the prettiest wine region in the world too. Douro Valley vineyards are really something else!

While getting around the Douro Valley is so challenging that a Douro Valley day tour may be a better option for most (as driving there is, in a word, terrifying), we put our fears aside and hit six great Douro Valley wineries during our two-and-a-half-day visit.

So in this one, we thought we'd share more about the wineries we were able to see!

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Garrafeira Nacional is a Must Visit Wine Store in Lisbon

When we booked a vacation to Portugal, we knew we were going to be bringing a number of bottles of still wine and port home with us.

What we didn't know prior to departing was where we would be buying our bottles specifically. Purchases at wineries were a given, of course, but we had allocated enough room in our suitcases to do some last-minute shopping at a wine store in Lisbon before flying home as well.

As it turns out, our friends 2 Food Trippers (who live in Lisbon) came through in recommending an incredible store with a great selection and some of the best prices we saw in the entire country. This was Garrafeira Nacional, a store that has been in business for almost 100 years, now with several locations in the heart of Lisbon proper including one in the Time Out Market and another just a few blocks from the Santa Justa lift.

If you're doing any sort of wine shopping in Lisbon, this really is the only place you need to visit.

Note: Photos and commentary in this article are primarily based on the Santa Justa location. However, the Time Out Market location, albeit a bit smaller, is also a stellar little outpost as well.

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12 Washington Wineries Near Seattle for a Great Day Trip

When we decided to visit friends in Seattle, we knew we wanted to get out to experience several Washington wineries.

At first, we had our hearts set on hitting a proper wine region like those found in the Columbia Valley towards the eastern side of the state. But we quickly scrapped that plan when we found out that many wineries in Washington are not estate operated- that is to say, wine producers typically do not grow their own grapes.

While this is not always the case, we found that tasting rooms in proper wine regions are few and far between- so much so that planning a visit seemed a bit too daunting. There are fields upon fields of grapes, naturally, but when it comes to trying the final products at proper tasting rooms, we weren't quite sure if it made sense for us given how far of a drive the region is from Seattle.

As it turns out, many of the most well-known wineries in the state are actually based in the greater Seattle metro area! These wineries typically buy their grapes directly from vineyards all over the state but ferment, package, bottle, sell, and pour samples at their tasting rooms much closer to the city.

So we decided to stick close to Seattle and hit up a dozen wineries in nearby Woodinville, Bainbridge Island, and even within the city limits of Seattle proper and we quickly found out how much the region loves Rhone and Bordeaux varietals outright!

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Barcelona Wine Bar Review – A Tapas Experience in Washington

We often lament about how we need more Spanish-style tapas bars in the country and European wine bars in general. So when I read about Barcelona Wine Bar in Washington DC and found that it was just a mile or so away from the hotel I was staying at, you know I had to go.

To say this wine bar checks both of those boxes is an understatement. But while you are not likely to get a free tapa with every wine order (like some tapas bars we went to in Spain), you will get the next best thing in all respect. That is to say, small plates, affordable prices, and an incredible selection all around.

Call me hooked on this great wine bar in DC!

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The Urban Grape is Our Kind of Boston Wine Store

When we travel, we always like to visit liquor stores and privately operated wine shops to see what kind of unique bottles we can find. Part of this is simply that we love wine, but also because Pennsylvania has a monopoly on liquor sales and the options you can find outside of special orders are inherently limited.

So, naturally, we had to pop around to some wine stores in Boston when visiting the city.

As soon as we walked into The Urban Grape near Copley Square, we knew we were in the right place. This one is different than most stores!

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