Nine of us are seated at high bar tables in a corner nook of Gaslight Brasserie du Coin in Boston’s South End, paying attention as guide John Fiola (also known as a “wine ambassador”) demonstrates how to open a bottle of bubbly. “You twist the bottle, not the cork,” he instructs the group. “Six twists.” On that final turn, the cork releases with a gentle thwup — not the explosive pop many expected. “Anticlimactic, for sure,” Fiola quips, “but better than half the bottle gushing onto the floor.” The group chuckles. He pours. We sip the pink sparkler and nibble steak tartare on mini toasts. This is the first stop on a two-hour tour.
City Wine Tours was founded in 2011 by entrepreneurs Daniel Andrew, Rick Goldberg, and Christian Iannucci, to offer afternoon walking tours, year-round on weekends ($56 to $66 per person). They hit three destinations – usually restaurants, sometimes a wine shop – where two glasses of wine and small plates are served at each stop. Local sommeliers and wine educators lead the groups, offering helpful hints about wine and insights about neighborhoods.