Alicia Towns, Wine Manager
Grill 23 & Bar
161 Berkeley St.
In case you've wondered what to do with a degree in Psychology, Alicia
Towns has the answer: commit yourself to a life in wine. Ask Alicia
about special moments and she recalls them by bottlings. Why did you
become a sommelier? Penfolds 1985 Grange. What about your first date
with your husband? 1994 Etude Cabernet. Thanksgiving, 1998? Sean Thackrey's
1996 Orion. And when he proposed? Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Clos Windsbuhl
1994. But it all began with that first sip of range, which Alicia calls
"the defining moment in my career, a revelation."
from Chicago, Alicia joined Grill 23 & Bar in Boston in 1991 and worked
her way up from waitstaff to management. Along the way, she showed an
exceptional (self-taught) grasp of the intricacies of wine, and was
promoted to Wine Manager in 1997. Since then, Alicia has expertly and
assertively met the restaurant's challenge to develop one of the top
lists in the city, in effect maturing a good wine list into a full-blown
wine program. She has more than doubled the selections to over 400 (soon
to be 600), introduced a cellaring system, and traveled the globe in
search of rare vintages and hard-to-come-by cases. Every evening at
Grill 23, Alicia and her two assistants work the room, deciphering,
offering suggestions and simply sharing a passion for wine. Working
closely with Executive Chef Jay Murray, Alicia is always prepared to
pair wine with food, and together she and Jay spread their knowledge
by teaching throughout the Boston area.
a force on Boston's wine scene, Alicia serves as guest sommelier at
a number of events each year, travels frequently to meet winemakers
in California and Europe, and is sought after for her seasonal "picks"
by publications ranging from The Boston Globe to MODE. Her knowledge
and enthusiasm were rewarded with a "Rising Star" Award from the Boston
chapter of Les Dames D'Escoffier in 1998.
to an undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Illinois,
Alicia earned a Masters in Psychology from Harvard while carrying out
her responsibilities at the Grill. Alicia has just returned from her
honeymoon, spent touring South African vineyards.