As the wine buyer, head sales person, and architect of the Progressive Scale for The Urban Grape, TJ is directly responsible for the store’s successes. He has been profiled by the New York Times, Food & Wine, Imbibe, Real Simple, Health magazine, MarketWatch, Eater National, Boston Magazine, Boston Common, The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, Boston Business Journal, The Improper Bostonian, and Terroirist, among other regional and national publications. The Beverage Journal named TJ one of ten “Black Drink Innovators to Watch” in 2020. TJ has been featured on shows such as Basic Black (WGBH), The Hub Today (NBC), Dining Playbook (NESN), New England Living (CBS), and Chronicle (WCVB), and is a frequent guest wine educator at corporate meetings and retreats.
Thanks to TJ’s leadership, The Urban Grape was a finalist for Wine Enthusiast's 2020 Wine Star Award for Best Retail Store in the US, and was called “Boston’s Revolutionary Wine Store” in a cover story for Beverage Dynamics. He has taught classes on drinking progressively at, among other places, Christopher Kimball's Milk Street, the Boston Center for Adult Education, Boston University, and the Boston Wine Expo. TJ is a seven-time returning Sommelier for the Nantucket Wine Festival and has been featured as the resident wine expert on the New England lifestyle show, “Home, Life, and Design.”
With a background in marketing, events, and philanthropic management, Hadley has been creatively developing and running her own businesses since graduating from Wesleyan University. If TJ’s job is to sell what’s in the store, Hadley’s is to sell the store itself. She has built a loyal community of Urban Grape customers through her social media channels and her widely read newsletters. The official voice of The Urban Grape, Hadley translates “wine speak” to UG’s customers in a clear, fun, and vibrant way. Hadley develops new business opportunities for The Urban Grape, based on the idea that a retail store should focus on a depth of offerings more than a breadth of locations. Additionally, she directs all of the store’s charitable giving, ensuring that the store is a good community partner to its customers and to the South End neighborhood where the store is located.
Hadley is a frequent panelist at conferences focusing on women founders and entrepreneurs, most recently speaking on the importance of inclusion and allyship in the workplace for the US Chamber of Commerce, and is a proud mentor for the Commonwealth Kitchen Small Business Initiative. She was named one of Inc Magazine’s Top 100 Female Founders in 2020.
Together, TJ and Hadley are the authors of the wine education book Drink Progressively: A Bold New Way to Pair Wine and Food, are the co-founders of the Urban Grape Wine Studies Award for Students of Color, and are the proud parents of two inspiring sons, Noah and Jason, and one fluffy Golden Retriever, Zeus.