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Vino Pair Serves Up Gourmet Food and Wine Expertise

Vino Pair Serves Up Gourmet Food and Wine Expertise


by


The company is located in a cave, but operates in the cloud.


Properly pairing food and wine at home is daunting even for foodies, especially if the right ingredients are not on hand. Based in Parkville’s commercial caves, Vino Pair founders Michael and Mindy Kearns make pairings painless through their subscription-based specialty food and wine business.

“When we started Vino Pair, it was hard to find perfect items to combine and pair,” said Mindy.

Michael added, “We wanted to make it simpler and frictionless for people.”

Monthly subscribers and single-order customers receive a refrigerated package shipped free via two-day air. Each shipment contains four to five ingredients, a printed appetizer guide and a bottle of wine.

Vino Pair’s packages of upscale wine and hand-selected gourmet foods are based on recommendations from Kansas City chefs. Each chef samples a featured wine, develops tasting notes and then creates a “perfect bite” by selecting from 2,000 products available from an online database. Once sourced, the Kearnses and the chef assemble the pairing, taste it and finalize the offering before listing it on the website.

For example, one curated option includes a jar of The Bacon Jam’s bacon spread, fresh chives, a log of Vermont Creamery goat cheese, Carr’s table water crackers and one bottle of King Estate Pinot Noir. The printed guide explains how to assemble the appetizers with the proper proportions to maximize flavor.

Mindy and Mike first met in 1992 when they worked at Rembrandt’s and later worked together at Californos. Mindy worked at Research Medical Center for a decade as a labor and delivery nurse. Meanwhile, Michael became the chief technical officer and director of e-commerce for Pro Athlete. Seeking a career change, they turned to food and wine.

In order to concentrate on product development, sales and order fulfillment, Michael applied his e-commerce expertise to Vino Pair’s back office systems.

Vino Pair uses “software as a service” (SaaS) systems and cloud-based applications that integrate with e-commerce platform Shopify.

MailChimp’s email-based communication and ZenDesk’s customer service platform make interaction a snap. RingCentral provides a voice-over-Internet protocol (VOIP) solution for toll-free service.

“Having a 1-888 number is still important for instilling confidence in customers,” said Michael. “When no one’s available, a call-forwarded tree can be created so personal cell phone and home phone numbers can be dialed.”

These hassle-free solutions make the online retail and back office experience simple and seamless, creating time for the Kearnses to focus on growing subscribers and enjoying the finer tastes in life.

Written by

Pete Dulin is a freelance writer based in Kansas City, Mo. He is also the author of Kansas City Beer: A History of Brewing in the Heartland, KC Ale Trail, Last Bite: 100 Recipes from Kansas City's Best Chefs and Cooks, and Expedition of Thirst: Exploring Breweries, Wineries and Distilleries in Central Kansas and Missouri. // www.petedulin.com

Categories: Company to Watch

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