Best Wine Shop

This South End shop has brought Boston's retail wine connoisseurship to a whole new level. Not only is crystal stemware used at the free Friday and Saturday tastings (from 6 to 8 pm), but the proprietors will, on occasion, bring the tasting to your home.

In addition to monthly winemaker events where customers can spend one-on-one time with vintners, they also host themed tastings. The most popular so far was last fall's First Annual Harvest Tasting and Grape Stomp. Original wine barrels from France and California were flown in and filled with 100 pounds of grapes, and customers got to crush them Lucille Ball-style, after which they sampled more wines. Around Kentucky Derby time, customers sample home made mint juleps.

In-store book signings with chef/writers are planned for the summer. Who says shopping for wine need be a sober, snooty affair?