In years past, the term Pizza Wine has been used to describe low-cost table wines with unremarkable labels that often appeared in Italian restaurants and pizzerias. Today, the term is poised to take on a new meaning as a Chicago pizzeria unveils the real deal in the form of its own House Red and House White wines. The Woodridge, Illinois-based Home Run Inn has teamed up with California's Stanger Vineyards to market non-vintage chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon in their own shop as well as other stores in the Chicago area. The Jewel-Osco chain of area drug stores is selling Home Run Inn wine in 175 of its stores for $10 per bottle.
Stanger Vineyards is owned by Roger Janakus, who was a frequent customer at the Home Run Inn before he moved to California to start his vineyard. Stanger walked into the restaurant one day back in 2007 and started a conversation with the Home Run Inn's chief executive officer Joe Perrino. They talked about making and selling wines at the pizzeria and thought about naming the wines after Home Run’s CEO but didn't want to have get stuck marketing a wine called Vino Perrino so they settled on the Home Run Inn name.
The wine bottles feature a 1947 photograph of family matriarch Mary Grittani and her son-in-law, Nick Perrino, Joe's Perrino’s father, making pizza together in the original Home Run Inn in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood. The label on the back yields a short history of the restaurant and the collaboration with Stanger Vineyards.
Both the Home Run Inn chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon are simple and pleasant wines. These are not complex wines with strong flavor and personality, they are simply wines that sell well with pizza.