the origin of Milo
Why the name Milo?
Far before it was trendy, the name Milo was a Leal family name going back generations. Jonathan’s paternal grandfather Otis Milo Leal (named after an uncle Milo, believed to be the first) passed the name on to his son (and Jonathan’s father) William Milo Leal. Jonathan’s sister Jenny continued the tradition, with one of her twins being named Ethan Milo (joining Isaac William).
Counting the company (and it is Jonathan’s baby!), the name Milo is now in its 6th generation and going strong!
Vino de Milo is one of two brands owned by Milo’s — check out our other company, JB’s Best Sauces!
where we started
Vino de milo began at a food business incubator, the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACEnet). After some fits and starts, we finally got it figured out. A beautiful logo, the addition of wine, and we were off!
It all started when an eggplant sauce for a catering gig led to a packaging experiment in the adjoining bottling facility. One thing led to another, wine was suggested & added, and vino de milo was born.
Gifted graphic designer Kevin Morgan hand-drew the Vino de Milo chef on canvas using colorful charcoal. The name and the logo are perfect accompaniments to the beautiful ingredients you’ll find in each of our products.
a commitment to fresh & local ingredients
Some of our local suppliers for ingredients include:
- Hirzel: A fourth-generation family farm near Toledo, Ohio, they supply the tomatoes for our products.
- Woeber’s Mustard: A family-owned company in Springfield, Ohio, we get our Dijon-style mustard and most of the vinegars in our salad dressings from them.
a commitment to quality
Founded in 2003 by Jonathan Milo Leal, vino de milo has grown from 3 pasta sauces into a full line of from-scratch-made products, encompassing salad dressings, pasta sauces, bruschetta toppings, salsas, and BBQ sauces.
Unlike many food companies, we make all of our products ourselves, using locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible.
creativity and versatility
As we’ve grown, we’ve added products and capabilities. We have an R&D chef on staff who develops all of our new products, and can easily customize new products for our retail customers.
We continue to innovate; this year, for example, we added a new Moroccan Marinara, a truly unique pasta sauce that’s unlike anything you’ve ever tasted, and completely authentic to the culture that inspired it.
the milo’s team
Jonathan Milo Leal
founder & owner
As any small business owner will tell you, you have to be good at a lot of things. Jonathan is involved on a daily basis with all aspects of the business, including (but not limited to!) sales & marketing, recipe development, production, shipping, and more for vino de milo.
Born in California & raised in Nepal & Mexico, he brings a broad understanding of cultural differences to his work, including sales to export markets.
A regular speaker at the Fancy Food Show on vicarious industry topics for manufacturing, Jonathan’s first love is teaching, especially foreign languages. Fluent in French and conversant in German, he has two degrees in French and an MBA from Ohio University. He lives in Athens with his life partner Barry and their wonder dog Geffi.
wholesale sales manager
Maryjane has been with Milo’s for 6 years, and does an outstanding job for us as our inside sales manager. Maryjane is most often the voice you hear when you call our office. She has extensive experience and knowledge in sales to wine & specialty food stores, and brings her passion for good food (and of course great wine) to Milo’s.
A lifelong resident of the area, MJ (as her friends call her) has an upbeat attitude and loves working with our wholesale, distributor, and private label partners. MJ likes all things big – cars, drinks, houses, jewelry, and of course orders!
Mark is now in his 5th year at Milo’s, and brings a can-do attitude to his job, which involves everything from planning orders to prepping all ingredients to bottling our growing line of items. He brings a strong analytical skill set to his job as the vino de milo production manager; in any given day, our production crew can be making up to 8 different items, and keeping everything organized and on track is one of Mark’s strengths. Mark is also a graduate of the Better Processing School, which provides comprehensive training in the science and FDA regulations of bottling hot-fill, low-acid food items. This is also one factor that sets Milo’s apart from many other manufacturers out there: We custom-make all of our items in small batches at our facility — no outside factories, no other processors involved.
Mark lives with his wife Marlene in the country outside Athens, and in his free time, he loves to work outside, including on his Koi pond.
production, shipping & accounting
Jeremy is a long-time area resident who started with Milo’s in 2014 and has become invaluable in production, shipping, and accounting for Milo’s. He has a strong background in finance and construction, and is a quick study with a great attitude.
Jeremy lives near Athens with his family, including three kids.
shipping & warehousing manager
Now in his second year, Leonard has been an invaluable addition to our team, managing the often complex warehouse operation at Milo’s. Bringing significant warehouse and shipping experience to the table, Leonard manages our forecasting, organizing incoming packaging deliveries and overseeing labeling & palletizing products for shipment to our customers across the US and around the world.
Leonard has two sons and is a lifelong resident of the area.
product development specialist
Nadia Mitchell is the taste creator for Milo’s, and has contributed numerous outstanding products for us over the years, from our salad dressing line to our bruschettas, and most recently, the JB’s Best line of salsas and BBQ sauces. Having lived in Morocco for many years, she brings an international culinary background to her work. One of her most unique projects is our Moroccan Marinara, an authentic tagine (stew) that is the daily meal of Morocco. Nadia’s skill set allow us to custom-develop products for our co-pack and private label customers, as well as continuing to innovate new items and lines for Vino de Milo.
director of quality assurance and compliance
Celia manages our quality control program, including all QC policies and FDA compliance. She is responsible for wrangling the deluge of paperwork a business like this generates. Her strong attention to detail and insistence on quality across the organization ensure that all products we produce meet & exceed all regulations. A lifelong resident of southeast Ohio, Celia is an amazing artist whose work encompasses such media as gourd art, collages, photography, and painting.