Italians cannot live without their wine. It doesn’t matter if it’s red, white or prosecco, vino holds a place of honor at our table, whether we’re eating at home or dining out. According to the Wine Institute, more than 26 million bottles of wine are produced annually throughout the world. There’s nothing better than sitting down to dinner at a restaurant and being able to order your favorite bottle of wine. But how do restaurant owners and their wine buyers find that special bottle for their customers? Now, they can turn to Wine2Find.com.
Launched earlier this year, Wine2Find.com has accomplished the almost impossible task of assembling information on more than 60,000 wines into an online database. Wine representative John Saccomanno and his business partner Pasquale Moreci are the brains behind this industry-changing website.
“Constantly being asked where wines could be bought, I thought, ‘Why not create a site where wholesale wine buyers in Illinois can go and easily be able to locate the distributor that currently has a wine they’re looking for?'” Saccomanno, a wine industry veteran, explains. “There are more than 200 distributors in Illinois and wines move around and there is a lot of change. We try and stay on top of it.”
“As a wine buyer, I constantly found myself asking wine sales reps if they knew where I could obtain different wines, so when the idea for this site was presented to me I embraced it wholeheartedly, and thus Wine2Find was created,” says Moreci, who runs Roberto’s Ristorante in Elmhurst.
Saccomanno has been in the hospitality industry since high school, and he has been selling wine since 1995.
“Growing up in Northlake, my first restaurant experience was at a local pub called Knight of Knights,” recalls Sacconmanno. “I started peeling potatoes and forming handmade burgers, and graduated to cook. Later, I attended the restaurant training program at Triton College and graduated from the School of Hospitality Management at Florida International University.”
After serving as director of catering at the Palmer House in the 1980s, Saccomanno transitioned to country club management, and was the wine buyer at Medinah Country Club in the 1990s, then the general manager of Shorthills Country Club in East Moline.
“In 1995, I decided to go into the wine business and started selling for Pacific Wine company,” Saccomanno says. “I started to sell wine to restaurants and country clubs.”
As Saccomanno become more immersed in the business, the need for a clearinghouse of information became apparent. Wine2Find.com is as much a labor of love as a business opportunity for Saccomanno. It took a whopping 10 hours just to upload the Wirtz catalogue, and he receives daily updated lists from distributors. Information is available on the website free of charge, and Saccomanno and Moreci rely on advertisers to cover the costs.
Wine2Find.com is in its infancy, but Saccomanno and Moreci already have grand plans, according to Saccomanno. “We are growing 25 percent every month and hope eventually to go nationwide,” he says. “It’s a challenge, but you have to be in the business and have a knack for it,” adds Saccomanno.
Wine buyers will be happy with this new “find.”