Feature

The Wine Geeks

June 2000

You know it as Barolo Grill. But Blair Taylor’s successful Sixth Avenue restaurant is much more than just a great place to have dinner; it’s also a nightly focus group for one of the region’s fastest-growing wine-import businesses.

Since opening in 1993, Barolo has been consistently known as one of Denver’s most popular and critically acclaimed restaurants. But Taylor — who previously owned Dudley’s and the original Chives — knows that even the best restaurants usually have a limited lifespan. So he began planning a wine business to replace the restaurant when it finally lost its appeal. But now, with the wine-import business booming and Barolo’s ever-changing menu still satisfying customers, there is no end in sight for?either business.

Taylor’s “side business” wasn’t plucked from thin air or on a whim; wine has always been an integral part of Barolo’s success. The restaurant’s well-stocked wine list is a draw for many diners. And Taylor has always been fond of casually enjoying a glass of vino with his customers. Today, however, the wine experience is a bit different for Taylor and partner Brad Vanderpool (who manages the bar at Barolo). Swirling a glass of wine at dinner and deciding on a single bottle is one thing; ordering 6,000 bottles after a mere taste is quite another.