While we were out shopping this afternoon, Michelle and I saw a sign for a wine tasting—we should get a “We stop for wine tastings” bumper sticker–and wandered into The Urban Grape, a new wine store in Chestnut Hill. Urban Grape is attracting both an alcoholic and electronic buzz because of the innovative way it’s selling wine and the innovative way it’s marketing the shop.
Urban Grape displays wines by body weight (light/medium/full). Co-owner TJ Douglas has brought a common practice on many restaurant wine lists to life by arranging his 750 bottle selection by body rather than by region or grape. The purpose is to encourage you to try wines you don’t know that have a similar body as wines you like.
I asked Douglas about where I could find the Malbecs. “The body of a Malbec can really vary,” Douglas explained, so the Malbecs were shelved according to where they fit on his scale for wines, with 1 being the lightest body and 10 being the fullest.
Michelle and I wanted to do a tasting at home, so we asked Douglas to select two Grüner Veltliners for us to compare. He suggested two bottles from the Gruber winery in Austria, both rated 3 in body on his scale for whites. We’ll be sampling the Huber “Hugo” ($12) and the Huber “Obere” ($20) tonight.
The shop is long and narrow, like a sleek, upscale diner, with gorgeous wood shelving displaying the bottles like they’re works of art. It’s got an 11-foot table at just the right height for holding a glass and lots of open space for free in-store tastings on Thursdays and Fridays from 5 -7 pm and Saturdays from 1 – 3pm.
The Urban Grape is taking an aggressive social media strategy. They’ve already hosted two Yelp Elite events. And every Tuesday afternoon, they announce their favorite wines of the week on Twitter and Facebook and make them available at a 20% discount through Saturday of that week.
On July 15, the Urban Grape and blogger Amanda Maynard of The Wineing Woman were the Boston hosts for the #PinotNoir Twitter Tasting and Smackdown, a national Pinot Noir tasting that took place in the actual and virtual worlds simultaneously. Apparently, people from all over the US were gathered in wineries, wine stores and who knows where else tasting Pinot Noirs and posting their thoughts and voting for their favorites on Twitter. I’m sorry I missed it, because I’m always up for Twinking (Tweeting + drinking).
Since I enjoy tasting many different wines, I don’t feel I need any encouragement to try something new, but I’m happy that Urban Grape is just a few miles down the road from our house. And I’m looking forward to some good Twinking tonight.