The Urban Grape

For advocating for a more progressive, inclusive, and accessible wine industry

Hadley Douglas
Boston, MA
Food & Beverages

The Urban Grape, in Boston’s South End, set out to be more than just another wine store. “Our mantra is really to build community through wine,” says Hadley Douglas, who quit her job to start the business in 2010 with her husband, TJ, a restaurant-industry veteran and one of the few Black people in Boston’s wine scene. While wine stores usually arrange bottles by region or varietal, The Urban Grape uses a less-intimidating “progressive shelving,” which places red and white wines on a scale from one to 10, representing light- to full-bodied wines.

The business has grown steadily for a decade, reached $4 million in sales, and has never had a down year, according to Douglas. 
The Urban Grape got a headstart on e-commerce last year, creating an online shop from scratch with a built-in customer service function. This personalized approach has helped maintain customer loyalty during the pandemic, Douglas says--and allowed the store to keep its sales in-house instead of paying for a service like Drizly. The Urban Grape has successfully moved its wine-tasting events business online, too, says Douglas. And when the store was vandalized in June during Black Lives Matter protests, the Douglases used the attention to raise money for a new fund that launched this fall: a wine-studies award and internship program to help students of color break into the industry. – Sophie Downes

Other Inc. Honors

  1. 2020
  2. 2020