Vino Who?

Many people ask me where the name VINO FANDANGO came from – so let me explain...

This story has 2 parts – for the first part – let me take you back to 1990 and my first stint as an area manager for Oddbins – a quirky and iconic wine retailer that gave me my start in the wine industry in 1982. I had spent the previous 7 years working in Oddbins shops all over Scotland and in January ‘90 I was catapulted South as Area Manager for the South London and Kent area. This gave me responsibility for some of Oddbins highest turnover branches at the time, including Wimbledon, Tunbridge Wells and Canterbury. However, Derek Morrison, the MD at the time, felt there was a gaping hole for a new branch in Sevenoaks – a pretty commuter town in Kent well liked by financiers! I also suspect, Derek had a fancy for one of it’s inhabitants – hence our continued interest in the town!

One bright, sunny morning, in Spring 1990, I found myself driving Derek down the A21 in his JAG XJS (personal reg number: ODD1E). On the way down we had a discussion about brand names. Derek had a theory that, like Oddbins, a strong brand name had to be easily pronounceable by the general population and memorable in some way. With that nugget of branding theory, I then proceeded to try and navigate a 3 point turn on Sevenoaks High street. Let’s just say a long wheelbase car in a narrow High Street gave me a long time to let Derek’s pronouncement sink in – and it’s stayed with me ever since.

Now – we need to fast forward 25 years to February 2015. By this time I was working for a Spanish wine producer selling Spanish wine into the big UK pub chains and I had arranged to meet the wine buyer for Greene King to show him some of our interests in Rioja. I flew to Logrono (the capital of the Rioja wine region) with a colleague, and as we checked into our hotel she told me that she had arranged to meet one of her old university friends for a drink – and would I like to join them – of course I would!

So, we found ourselves in a wine bar in Logrono – called WINE FANDANGO – and I remember thinking what a great name! It sold a wonderful range of Rioja wines, accompanied by an equally impressive range of tapas and had a really cool vibe to boot. In short, it was a fabulous experience, and like my 3 point turn in Sevenoaks – stays with me to this day!!

So, when I started thinking about an online wine business I thought of Wine Fandango – but obviously couldn’t use that particular name – so I thought if they are using English ‘WINE’ – I would use the Spanish ‘VINO’!! – so in 2020 VINO FANDANGO WAS BORN – almost 30 years to the day that Derek told me a strong brand name had to be both easily pronounceable and memorable – and I think our name is both.

An added bonus, is that so many people have told me our name plays Queen’s 'Bohemian Rhapsody' in their heads! A fitting anthem indeed!

Cheers/Salud, Alan


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