The Urban Grape
Boston has its fair share of young & passionate wine innovators. There’s newly Inc.’d vino-preneur Tyler Balliet, Bin Ends Wine miracle markdown king John Hafferty, Red White Boston’s new Boston wine-centric iphone app, Central Bottle in Cambridge is Skyping in wine makers for tastings, and restauranteur Babak Bina is stepping it up with the city’s inaugural Boston Wine Week. Now we can add to that list TJ Douglas of Urban Grape.
A restaurant industry veteran, Douglas has turned the world of wine retail on its head with his new Chestnut Hill shop. Douglas’ approach is based around a progressive taste profile, classifying wines by their body and weight and assigning them a number from one to nine, as opposed to sorting by region or varietal (the milk comparison is the easiest way to understand…skim, 2%, full-fat…pinot gris, pinot noir, petit syrah..you get the gist). TJ’s numerical system is designed to remove the intimidation of shopping for wine and encourage customers to expand outside of their comfort zones. No need to study up on your burgundies before making a purchase, you can simply waltz in and declare “I’m a 6 red”, in which case you’d browse through a selection of red wines that all fall into that category — could be a California cab you end up with, or perhaps an Argentinean merlot.
The shop is chic and sleek and cool, laid out long and narrow with a striking 75 foot wall of wine — yum! The alternate walls also stock an incredible selection of craft beer and liquor, with many specialty options, such as Rogue Gin and Makers’ special-edition 46. Other fun features and offerings include two Enomatic tasting machines, a rotating selection of Urban Samplers (great gifts!) and a full selection of biodynamic and organic wines.
Posted by Sam