Meet Our Team
Owner, General Manager, Buyer
I love wine. Not just the taste, but the experience. I love wandering into the kitchen an hour before dinner, seeing what is on tap for the evening’s meal, heading over to the wine cooler, and picking the perfect bottle. I love opening that bottle, pouring the wine into my glass, swirling it, smelling it, tasting it. Pouring my wife a glass, “cheers,” and taking that first real sip. Another great day on the books, now it’s time to relax and experience life in the moment.
I love that by age two and a half my oldest son knew that his grandfather likes Cabernet and that his mommy likes Bubbles. I love that my sons will grow up stacking bottles in The Urban Grape, learning about wine, and people, and the world; after all, wine is universal. I love that our family dinners feature good food, good conversation and, of course, good wine.
And I love The Urban Grape. It is the culmination of half my life’s work. From dishwasher, to server, to restaurant manager, to wine salesman, to the owner of a boutique wine store – each of my experiences with wine (and the people who love wine) has led me to this moment. I believe we have opened a store that can create community, memories, and joy through the experience of wine.
So enjoy – from my family dinner to yours.
Read more about TJ in Beverage Dynamics.TJ's Picks
Owner, Communications, Business Strategy
My earliest wine memory centers around one word – “Trefethen.” Actually, it was two words – “More Trefethen!” It was my dad’s birthday party and I was about 15 years old. I sat to his right with my family and extended family stretched out on either side. Somehow I had a wine glass, and in the merriment that glass kept getting filled along with everyone else’s. A case of Trefethen into the evening, my older brothers took me aside and said, “Don’t worry, we’ll get you through this.” It was a fun night, but a while before I drank wine again.
After helping many other companies with their marketing, public relations, events, and philanthropy, I’m excited to have made a life doing the same for The Urban Grape. It’s a joy to be the “voice” of The Urban Grape on our social media accounts, blog, and newsletter where I try to make wine relatable and fun. When not UG’ing it, you can find me with our boys Jason and Noah, who get annoyed that I have to photograph dinner before they can eat it. The perks to this job are great – there’s always lots of wine to sip with friends, and I liked the owner enough to marry him.
Read more about Hadley on Bellini Portraits.Hadley's Picks
Urban Affairs Manager
I grew up in Glosta, MA where family is deeply rooted. There is nothing I relish more than unwinding over a bottle (or two) of wine with my family and friends. I was introduced to wine by my parents and am now a Certified Specialist of Wine through the Society for Wine Educators, as well as a Certified Sommelier. At the Urban Grape, I have found a lot of joy in teaching wine and organizing wine-centric events!Chelsea Bell's Picks
Inventory and Merchandising Manager
As a college student I drank the ubiquitous jugs of Carlo Rossi. One year, I spent the fall in Italy, drinking family wines in small vineyards. I learned then what I know today – a great wine is the one you can pick up on the daily, that is fresh and delicious and cheap and cheerful. Words to live by!Alex Ringenbach's Picks
My journey started with culinary, but what else to enjoy with a beautifully prepared meal than an expertly crafted bottle of wine? Thus my focus has shifted its course (get it?....course..) but the end result is the same; as with great food, great wine creates happiness and satisfaction. After transitioning to the Front of House I decided to get my Sommelier certification through the Court of Master Sommeliers. I love the study of wine because it is not just a study of wine, it is a study of cultures, of geography, and the relationship between the two. A well made bottle gives you a glimpse into the endless combinations of the aforementioned, and can take you wherever you want to go, that is I why I do what I do.Julie Hernandez's Picks
Special Orders Manager
My entrance into the wine business happened as a matter of chance while working towards a degree in aviation science. The "wine bug" silently bit me while I bartended my way through school at a fine dining restaurant in Boston. As my intrigue evolved from a hobby to a passion, I pursued wine as formal course work at BU, and became a Sommelier through the C.M.S. organization. Over the next 12 years, I assumed various roles as a retail wine director, wine importer, wholesale distributor, and wine educator. At UG I focus my passion for wine by providing a concierge style experience to our customers. I source unique and rare products for those searching for items beyond the scope of our retail space, and provide our corporate clients and key accounts with white glove service and an individualized experience.
I'm a girl with insatiable curiosity and energy, so when I folded up my chef coat for the last time and exchanged it for academia, the world of wine became my rock. With its endless lessons in history, chemistry, geology, politics, culture, and even scandal, wine never gets boring! I’m now a Certified Sommelier pursuing the WSET Diploma program. Exploring the world's vineyards through the lens of a Sommelier has proved that the most exciting wines are made by passionate people and have a great story. Much like finding a message in a bottle, I find great joy in the already undeniably Pavlovian experience of uncorking a bottle of wine.
Urban Hops Manager
Originally from the midwest, I fell in love with the city of Boston while attending Boston University for the French Horn. Post-college, I met my future husband while working at Craigie on Main in Cambridge, and from there moved to live and work on a cheese farm in Alsace, France. My passion for beer grew exponentially while working at the Publican in Chicago, where I become a Cicerone-certified beer server, and even more so during my travels to Belgium and Germany. When I'm not slinging beer at the Urban Grape, I'm studying for my Certified Sommelier exam, planning JP Beer Garden pop-ups with my husband, and walking my Bernese Mountain dog, Winston, around Jamaica Pond.
After graduating with a degree in computer science and working behind a desk for two years I realized I wasn’t going to be happy with a career in software engineering. Wanting to pursue a passion, I began seriously studying wine with the intent to become certified through the Court of Master Sommeliers, and found a perfect fit here at the Urban Grape. In my opinion, wine is best when it is shared. It brings people together – whether friends, new acquaintances, or even strangers - to enjoy a common interest or share a meal. Being able to help someone enjoy that experience is what makes this work so rewarding for me.