La Bodega Winery
Owned & Operated by Gina Puente. Located at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport,
Terminal A, Gate A15. 972.574.1440
Story by Marty The Wine Guy
Gina met me at Terminal A Gate A15. Their mission was to lead me through
security and to their winery. At security, we took off our shoes and emptied our
pockets. We were cleared by security, then off to their winery. That doesn't
happen at any other winery in the world. Then, we stopped in front of their winery
to take a picture of Gina.
Gina is very busy people; so, I'm grateful for their time, and now it's time for wine!!!
Gina points out the wine press and the wine barrels that make this winery fully
licensed, bonded & operational. I sat down at their wine bar and was poured a
2002 Messinah Hof Pino Grigio, which I enjoyed very much. I asked Gina, to tell
me about their customers. Gina points out, the customers are looking for a place to
chill out and relax before, between, or after flights. Gina noted, that some customers
have bonded with each other at their winery and even buy each other gifts.
I asked Gina how it all began. In 1991, Gina joined Puente Concessions, a family
business started by her father Victor Puente, Sr. Together they owned and
operated a few newstands at DFW airport. By 1995, they were looking to expand
their business. That's when Gina, a graduate of Texas Christian University, decided
to make better use of one of their newstands and opened the world's first winery in
an airport. John Brancato and Gina Puente-Brancato were married in 1998 and
quickly discovered this winery became their baby. Today, Glenn Verk, who has
been with the company for over 5 years, is their Sunday babysitter. Glenn, a true
wine lover, is entrusted to take care of the winery and its loyal fans like Geraldine
and Stuart of Arizona, globetrotters that call this place an oasis. Stuart says he's
looked many places for the Pour Disk, the wine pourer that he likes, but can only
find it at La Bodega. Stuart is telling me this as he is enjoying a glass of Gruet
Methode Champenoise, Brut Non Vintage and convinces me to try it. John poured
it for me; and, I sniffed, swirled, swallowed, and assessed this wine had the total
YUM factor going for it! Stuart adds, that's from New Mexico. I have to admit, it
was the first New Mexico Wine I have tasted. Great suggestion Stuart!
Gina quickly admits, it's their people like Glenn Verk, Izzy Callarman (General
Manager) and Martin Honeycutt (Operations Manager) that make this winery such
a great place, an Oasis, that caters to world travelers. La Bodega Winery is located
in the international terminal at DFW Airport. But, John remembers that it wasn't
long ago the gates just outside the winery welcomed travelers from Orange County,
LAX, and San Francisco. In fact, he said some of his most vivid memories of the
winery, are Californians stepping out from their flights, walking into their winery and
finding a Texas wine they like and take back to California to share with their friends.
La Bodega Winery pours and sales several Texas wines, along with its own brand.
The flight of wines I tasted included the following wines:
2002 Messinah Hof Pino Grigio
Gruet Methode Champenoise, Brut
Sister Creek Muscat Canelli
2002 LightCatcher Merlot from Emmy Award winner Caris Turpen.
Dry Comal Creek Cabernet Franc
2000 La Bodega Winery Aero Port made from 100 percent Lenoir, a native
Texas grape. It's not a fortified Port; instead, John and Gina decided to bring
in special yeast to bring up the alcohol level to 19 percent. This is the reason
this Port taste so good, yet without the burn found in most Ports.
|La Bodega Winery
(LBW) distinction of
being the only bonded
winery in an airport
may never have
materialized if it were
not for the heroics at
Kitty Hawk, N.C. To
event, LBW produced
"Aero Port" - the first
wine ever cellared in an
airport, worthy of a
and honoring the
"fathers of aviation".
La Bodega Wines pictured above from left to right: Cabernet Sauvignon,
Chardonnay, Texas Country Blush, & Merlot
How much is that vino in the window? Mmm Mmm ...I hope that vino's for
sale. Take a good look at the wine press, above and on the left and the oak
barrels on the right; that's what makes this a fully licensed, bonded &