Miami Alumnus Joins America's Fastest-Growing Private Companies - the Inc. 5000

Volio Imports ranks 3,663 on the 2018 Inc. 5000

Charles Lazzara

DENVER, August 15, 2018 Miami Alumnus, Charles Lazzara class of ‘04, has become an Inc. 5000 Entrepreneur as the President and owner of Volio Imports.

Inc. magazine today revealed that Volio Imports ranks 3,663 on the 2018 Inc. 5000, coming within the top 100 for Colorado-based businesses.

Charles Lazzara was studying abroad in Florence, Italy during the first semester of his Junior year at Miami University. He had just turned 21 and was driving through the Chianti Classico wine region in Tuscany, a short 30-minute drive from the city of Florence where he was staying with a host family. While driving aimlessly through the region’s hills, he saw an open sign at a winery called Poggerino and decided to pull in. After hearing the story of the family-run winery, tasting their incredible wines, and relishing the view of the stunning countryside, Charles decided that wine could be a great opportunity to see the world and potentially make a little money.

Charles was interested in wine as a student but had never really considered it as a career - he came to Miami thinking of becoming a doctor but was derailed by a “weed-out” course referred to as “BMZ” (Botany, Microbiology, Zoology).  Always an entrepreneurial spirit, he directed his attention to a Finance major with a secondary emphasis in Chemistry and a thematic sequence in Entrepreneurship, which, oddly, would apply perfectly to a life in wine. 

In 2007, at the age of 25, he left his position at the Huron Consulting Company (founded by ‘72 Miami Alumnus Gary Holdren) and started two businesses, Volio Imports and Volio Vino Distribution.

In June of 2017, with significant changes to independent wine retail on the horizon in Colorado, Charles sold Volio Vino Distribution to a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway called Empire Distributors. This change provided Charles the time and energy to dedicate himself to the growth of Volio Imports (and his two small children).

“Being included in the Inc. 5000 is a great compliment to the energy and commitment to customer service that Volio Imports has re-invested in over the past 18 months,” said Charles.

The company is headquartered in Denver, Colorado and over the past 10+ years has grown to represent some of the most respected boutique wineries from Italy, France, and Spain. Volio is driven to represent high quality wines that embody a sense of place—unique to grape varietal, soil, and region.

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The Inc. 5000 is a list of the fastest-growing private companies in the nation. Started in 1982, this prestigious list has become the hallmark of entrepreneurial success. Not only have the companies on the 2018 Inc. 5000 been very competitive within their markets, but the list as a whole shows staggering growth compared with prior lists. The 2018 Inc. 5000 achieved an astounding three-year average growth of 538.2 percent, and a median rate of 171.8 percent. The Inc. 5000’s aggregate revenue was $206.1 billion in 2017, accounting for 664,095 jobs over the past three years.

Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at