Matt Montrose CEO, OMvino
Matt Montrose, a Bay Area native, began working in high-end restaurants at 19, sparking his fascination with the wine world. After earning his Advanced Certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers a few years later, he went on to work as a Sommelier and Wine Director for acclaimed wine programs at celebrity chef restaurants Atelier Crenn, Bar Crenn, Michael Mina, and Manresa.
Leveraging his storytelling skills for clients in the communications realm, he joined hospitality-driven marcom firm OMvino, where he serves as CEO. Here, Matt shares why working remotely fits his vision for OMvino and its clients, and why CANOPY’s Virtual Office membership empowers his team to serve diverse clients across multiple states.
Tell us about OMvino.
OMvino is a full-service marketing and communications firm that serves diverse food, beverage, and lifestyle clients. PR, marketing, and hospitality go hand in hand and develop personalized service strategies for every client to achieve optimal results. Our team of hospitality veterans has a service mindset and hands-on experience that gives our clients a distinct advantage—it’s why most have been with us since the company was founded in 2017. OMvino’s Digital Mise en Place concept, which means having the pieces in place to execute flawless service, also sets us apart.
What was the inspiration for OMvino?
We saw a niche business opportunity. We knew brands needed strategic marketing and communications delivered with industry expertise to thrive. But when we tried to hire agencies to represent our restaurants and hotels, we found none had the requisite expertise or knowledge to support our businesses. It’s a unique space requiring distinct knowledge of food, wine, and the intrinsic connection to hospitality and the customer experience that marketing agencies weren’t unfamiliar with.
Our collective years of working as restaurateurs, sommeliers, chefs, business managers, and sales associates gave us an understanding that can only be gained by working on both sides of the table in this fast-paced, challenging environment. We knew we could address the inefficiencies and knowledge gaps stifling the brands we loved and leverage our passion and love of storytelling to connect more deeply with guests and clients, driving the business forward. We decided to take the leap: OMvino was born. Since then, we’ve grown to nine core team members who collectively tap a network of hundreds of top communications talent nationwide.
What is “Digital Mise en Place”?
Hospitality professionals use “Mise en Place,” a French term that means “putting everything in its place,” when prepping all the needed elements to execute an impeccable dining service. A memorable marketing and communications campaign is like an exquisite meal in a fine dining restaurant: excellence comes from creatively composed dishes, thoughtful service, and the right ambiance. Your experience has a natural flow because every detail has been carefully considered and delivered by design. We’ve translated this into a unique approach for our clients: Digital Mise en Place, which provides clients with custom virtual tools to support their ongoing digital marketing success. These proprietary tools include a full suite of project management programs, guidance on proper foundational business elements, seamless communication techniques, and holistic work processes that we’ve fine-tuned through working with diverse clients.
OMvino has a Virtual Office at CANOPY. What appealed to you about this membership?
Our team is fully remote, with members based in France, Peru, California’s Central Coast, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, and we serve clients all over the country. It’s not practical for us to meet frequently in person. Offering our services entirely virtually allows us to nix superfluous expenses like office leases, equipment purchase and hire, and other costly office overheads that are part and parcel of an office lease—a cost-efficiency that we pass along to our clients.
We still need a physical mailing address where letters and packages can be received; we regularly receive wine shipments from clients which someone over the age of 21 needs to sign for in person. We also need conference room facilities for hosting branding workshops, pitch meetings, and other collaborative sessions as needed. As individuals who work mainly from home, our SF-based team members love being able to come here to work within CANOPY’s welcoming, design-forward spaces and socialize as part of the CANOPY community—it’s filled with so many other game changers and innovating personalities, and we’ve made some great connections here. The staff is also amazing!
What systems enable you to work successfully as a fully remote team?
Digital Mise en Place describes how we set up our clients’ businesses for success by creating a solid operational and branding foundation paired with seamless project management. These are the cornerstones of disruptive, innovative marketing and communications campaigns that sell products and services with integrity.
OMvino provides all of our clients with proprietary virtual workspaces via the project management tool Monday.com, we use Zoom and Slack to connect in real time, and we support clients as needed on branding guidelines, operational techniques, SOPs, and any other elements their business needs to be successful.
Please share some exciting milestones.
We’ve helped quite a few startups go from concept to having a viable market presence, and it feels great to see companies with fantastic ideas and responsible business practices come to life. We’ve also helped some legacy brands connect further with new target audiences, supporting their overall business longevity and keeping them relevant in a competitive market. As business advisors, we’ve also helped new brands close critical rounds of investment and funding, allowing them to reach key milestones and scale. It’s extremely rewarding to see many of the businesses we work with go from relative obscurity to beloved brands through strategic marketing.
What current/future developments in your field are you most excited about, and why?
Since we’re so deep in the food and beverage space, we see a lot of true innovation as founders work towards securing a more sustainable future for everyone. Many businesses we work with are pivoting to environmentally responsible methods for production. We’re also seeing massive growth within the alternative meat space, which is super exciting to work with. We love working with people who aren’t afraid to shake things up and create products for a better tomorrow.
How do you spend your time outside your Virtual Office?
In my (limited) free time, you can find me eating, drinking, and traveling worldwide. But, as someone who truly still loves the world of hospitality, I frequently consult with many restaurants in the Bay Area where I can actively participate in service and connect with guests over our shared passion for food and wine.
What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Be careful not to compromise your well-being, personal life, and mental wellness for a job. I’ve lost out on valuable opportunities and moments in life, being devoted to working for others in ways that made me feel respected and essential, but in the end, I was just another employee. It’s important to always put your best foot forward and work hard and with integrity, but when you work under people — especially in large companies — ultimately, everyone is replaceable. It’s not worth bleeding yourself dry for someone else’s business.
What is a skill everyone should master?
Learning a second language. Besides opening up yourself to many professional opportunities, diving deep into another language opens up doors to another culture, new ways of thinking, and a better understanding of what it’s like to be a part of a bigger, global community. It’s also great for your brain health and can be truly rewarding to travel to places where proficiency in the language allows for spectacular experiences that can alter your worldview.
What is one destination you love to visit?
Mexico. It’s a vast and diverse country with so much history and culture. Every corner of the country has something unique to offer. It’s simply overwhelming.
What’s your favorite thing to do in the San Francisco Bay Area?
My favorite thing about the Bay Area is leaving the Bay Area! By that, I mean we’re blessed to live here near so much natural diversity. We’re just moments away from the vast forests of northern California, beautiful beaches along our coastline, and the incredible Sierra Nevada mountains. It’s easy to access other remarkable places like the deserts, Tahoe, and the unique cities throughout the Golden State. There’s so much to discover.