First BWE of 2020s fills multiple rooms at new Boston Park Plaza venue
It had been almost six years since the Boston Wine Expo had its last call, but Raffaele Scalzi thought it was about time for a revival.
Having been in the restaurant business for years, the founder of Scalzi Hospitality Corp and BWE show director—who has had successful brick and mortar spots as well as some unforgettable popups—knew that he was onto something, but also realized that getting it done would be no small feat.
The last time the city hosted the event was in 2017, at the World Trade Center. The BWE was actually discontinued for a couple of years before the pandemic; in 2019, Scalzi decided to take on the challenge of reintroducing it, but COVID had other plans.
The interruption gave the restaurateur some time to make sure he really got it all right. For one, he brought the expo to the iconic (and recently overhauled) Boston Park Plaza, feeling that it was the perfect setting for this kind of grand event.
A spirits room, sponsored by Next Door Speakeasy—one of Scalzi’s restaurants—was a fun addition, along with including a booth hosted by Cannabist, a Boston pot dispensary. (There was no actual cannabis consumption on site, but the fact that they were there was a promising sign of potential collaboration between the two industries as it’s allowed by state law.)
As for the breakdown of the new venue, the grand ballroom was divided into wines by region, but also featured some nonalcoholic treats, like Craic Hot Sauce and some craft and clothing vendors. Other highlights included sommelier Bertil Jean-Chronberg, well known as the man behind Beehive. His Harvard Square wine shop Bonde impressed with an exclusive selection of eco responsible and sustainable bottles, as well as a very cool selection of knives and wine keys made with products normally scrapped, like swordfish tusks.
We sampled some excellent Italian wines and olive oils with the folks from Mirabella Crown Imports, who tipped us off that Tutto Italiano in Hyde Park is the only place currently carrying their products in the area. Meanwhile, a real-life Benevolent Ricktator of RiverWalk Brewing entertained and introduced us to his Politically Incorrect Seltzer made with real fruit.
Overall, it was a triumphant return, a gathering of industry people and average enthusiasts all there for great wine. Scalzi pulled off a big win. He was humble about it, but already told fans that they can expect the Boston Wine Expo to be back again next year.
Danielle is a lifelong food service worker, bartender, and lover of food who is based in the South Shore of Massachusetts.