Entrepreneur and franchisee Jeff Ottaviano is hoping to bring a new experience to Richmond’s West End when he opens what he describes as a combination of a wine lounge and nightclub in Short Pump’s West Broad Village towards the end of October, known as The Wine Loft. Before he got the idea to open The […]
Entrepreneur and franchisee Jeff Ottaviano is hoping to bring a new experience to Richmond’s West End when he opens what he describes as a combination of a wine lounge and nightclub in Short Pump’s West Broad Village towards the end of October, known as The Wine Loft.
Before he got the idea to open The Wine Loft, Ottaviano was an airline pilot for 10 years with now defunct Independence Air. His idea to open a wine cafe came quite literally by accident. “I tore my ACL and was at home watching Food Network one day when I got the idea [to open a wine cafe]. I Googled for different ideas and concepts.” That’s when he got in contact with The Wine Loft. “They had the concept I was looking for.”
“There’s currently nothing like this in the West End or really in Richmond,” Ottaviano said. “It’ll be like sitting in your living room. Wine is such a social experience that we try to encompass everything from the decor and wine to the food and music.” The Wine Loft even has its own music channel that can be customized to the mood or time of evening. The tempo increases and the type of music changes as the evening progresses.
The Short Pump location will be The Wine Loft’s first in Virginia and 23rd nationwide. The first location opened in New Orleans in 2005, only to be destroyed a few short months later when Hurricane Katrina struck. It was relocated to Baton Rouge before the company branched out into other cities with franchising agreements.
Upon opening, The Wine Loft’s Short Pump location will offer 250 different bottles of wine, 70 of them by the glass, and for any occasion and budget, ranging in price from $6 to $65. You can even get an $800 bottle of wine if the occasion warrants.
But there’s more than just vino. The Wine Loft plans on serving tapas-style appetizers such as cheese plates, salads, soups and other small plates meant to be shared and passed around between friends.
Rather than being in competition with nearby restaurants, Ottaviano sees them as complementary to his business, viewing his facility as a before or after dinner type place.
A huge, completely covered patio, not to mention an indoor raised loft area that will seat 20 to 30 people, is planned. There will also be weekly wine tastings, “meet the maker” nights and the facility will be available for private functions. The company even offers its employees free wine training and the ability for them to get master certifications in wine.
The Wine Loft will be open evenings from 4:30 p.m. until midnight on weeknights and stay open until 2:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday night.
Future Richmond locations are planned for downtown and southside, according to Ottaviano.