Jessica Luongo, 28
Co-founder and director, AmoVino Distributors
Life Story: Some coincidences follow you around for much of your life. Like when you grow up in North Vancouver during the 2010s with a grandfather who runs a wine business called Burrows, Luongo & Associates and a dad who operates a sporting goods store. No, Jessica Luongo has no immediate family members who starred for the Vancouver Canucks. She did, however, follow her own family legacy by becoming (to the best of her knowledge) the youngest wine agent in B.C. history when she and a former schoolmate, fellow wine aficionado Marisa Varas, founded wine wholesaler and importer AmoVino Distributors in 2015.
“Growing up I never wanted to own my own business–I looked at my family and said, OK, this is a lot,” Luongo remembers with a laugh. “But it was a really good learning experience; I think innovation and creation is the only way really successful businesses survive.”
While the older Luongo’s wine biz was built on the Italian variety, AmoVino’s tagline is “niche and natural,” says its co-founder. “Everything as a minimum standard is organic, and we choose to work with family companies, because quality can be better managed when doing small lots.”
Bottom Line: AmoVino employs five people and represents some of B.C.’s biggest industry brands, including Kelowna’s Summerhill Pyramid Winery, which it signed in early 2019. “After that, things started exploding,” Luongo says. “In January, we took over Summerhill, and proceeded to sign seven new producers–five wineries, a distillery and a cidery–in seven months.” Huge win for Luongo.