Friday, February 26, 2010
Continuing towards our goal of covering every square inch of the Massachusetts wine market, I recently visited The Grape Vine in Boxborough, MA. As I drove past the store in recent weeks, something stood out about it that made me think there just might be some good wines inside. I'm glad I stopped in because I found an amazingly varied and thoughtful selection of wines at reasonable prices.
Innocently situated along a rural stretch of Route 111, the store somehow carries more than 1,000 different bottles of wine. I thought the breadth of selection was amazingly strong especially for such a small store. The focus is on wines under $20 that, according to owner Robert Hirsch, deliver quality above their price.
When Mr. Hirsch purchased the store 6 years ago, it was a typical townie package store. They still sell cigarettes and nips but the emphasis is now clearly on wine which accounts for around 50% of their business. He says he recommends people take note of wines they enjoy when dining out, bring him the name of the wine and he'll happily track it down for them.
He stocks many value labels we've been discussed here on this site (August Cellars, Mockingbird Hill, Brancaia Toscana Tre) so I was interested to try similar selections he recommended. I picked up a bottle of 2008 Lucky Star Pinot Noir ($9.99) and a 2005 La Mas des Collines Cotes du Rhones ($14.99). I thought both were very good.
Mr. Hirsch is planning to open another store in Harvard, MA. Case discount policy is favorable relative to pricing: 20% off a mixed case.
Overall, I think it's a nice little shop that has more to offer wine enthusiasts than you might think if you've only driven past. It's the kind of store for people who want help finding good values in the $10-$20 price range without having to do a bunch of research and driving all over the state.
Check 'em Out:
104 Massachusetts Avenue
Question of the Day: Have you been to the The Grape Vine? If so, what did you think? If not, what are some of your favorite wine shops in the Acton/Boxborough area?