Category Archives: Bottles for the Cause

Curt’s Picks for The Mountaintop

One of our absolute favorite times of the month is when Curt Columbus, Artistic Director of Trinity Rep, and his team visit the store to discuss the wines that the theater will serve during performances. His knowledge of wine and his passion for it are incredibly infectious;  Curt’s palate is as good as any pro’s, and his ideas are always spot on.

To pair with Trinity’s production of “The Mountaintop,” an astounding re-imagining of night before the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Curt focused on wines that play to the intense play’s surprising humor, spirit and craft. As a reminder, these wines are available by the glass during each performance. And if you purchase a bottle in store, Bottles will donate 20% of your purchase back to Trinity Rep in support of their amazing work in our community.

Herewith, Curt’s Picks for “The Mountaintop”.


Kings Ridge Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, Oregon
“I mean of course I’d consider this wine, given its name, to pair with this production that has Martin Luther King Jr. as its central character. The fact that it’s a delightful, delicious and fruit-forward expression of Pinot Gris (aka, Pinot Grigio) made it a slam dunk.” – c.c.

Sofia Sparkling Wine, California
“The character Camae plays a really important role in this powerful, two-person drama. Her joyful, heavenly spirit – which is just magical to experience – calls for a drink that’s equally as special and effervescent.” -c.c.

And, for a tasty cocktail during the show, consider this:

“Joe’s Juice”
We’re honoring Joe Wilson, Jr., star of ‘The Mountaintop’ and one of the hardest working actors in show business, with his own cocktail. It’s his favorite!  Vodka and soda with orange and grapefruit juice.” – c.c.

Enjoy the show!


Appropriate Drinking

Heading to Trinity Repertory Company to see Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ “remarkable and devious” (The New York Times) new play? Jacobs-Jenkins, one of three recipients of this year’s MacArthur Genius Grants, is considered one of the theater world’s most important young creatives, and his Appropriate was the winner of the 2014-2015 Obie Award for Best New American Play.

It is — on the surface — an homage to the classics of the American theater canon, say our friends at Trinity. In this biting comic-drama, the estranged members of the Lafayette family return home to their run-down Arkansas estate after the passing of the family patriarch. As they sort through a lifetime of mementos, they discover a gruesome relic that turns their reunion into an escalating series of shocks, showdowns and revelations.

Intrigued? We certainly are. We’ll be in the audience awaiting the revelations. And while there, we’ll for sure be drinking one (or more) of the beverages TRC Artistic Director Curt Columbus has deemed appropriate for “Appropriate”.

Herewith, Curt’s “Appropriate” Picks:

Pine Ridge
“This unique blend (chenin blanc and viognier) is an affable, easy drinking white, with surprising fruit flavor and finish. Like the play and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ writing, this wine will have you coming back for more.” – c.c.

Tintero Bianco
“ A delightful, refreshing white wine, one that is also zesty and fun.  This white wine, called simply ‘Bianco’ (white), is the perfect choice for an evening of dark comedy about race.” –c.c.

Glasses of Pine Ridge and Tintero Bianco are available to drink during the show. And 20% of the sale of each wine purchased at Bottles throughout the duration of the production will be donated back to the theater.

Bottles is Proud to be the Official Sommelier of Trinity Rep!


What to Pair with Oklahoma!

If you haven’t yet moseyed on over to see Trinity Repertory Company’s  widely-praised production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!”, do it now. Mosey now.

And while you’re there, sip on “The Farmer and the Cowman,” a cocktail we created with Curt Columbus, Trinity’s Richard L. Bready Artistic Director, to pair with this quintessentially American show.


“The Farmer and the Cowman”
Fill a tall glass with ice, add 1.5 oz Bulleit Bourbon and 5-8 dashes Fee Brother’s Rhubarb Bitters. Top with soda water and garnish with a wagon wheel of lemon.

And If bourbon’s not your thing, try one of “Curt’s Picks.” They’re the bottles that Curt – a true wine lover with an experienced (and wonderful) palate – chose to pair with the show.



Said Curt:

Line 39 Sauvignon Blanc is dry and crisp, without being overly sharp. Some sauvignons can be too grassy, and this one has really nice round fruit to it.  We had it last night with Asian food, and it was terrific, although it is a really great Spring sipping wine!”

The Charles & Charles is a stylish American rosé, crisp and fruity, with notes of ripe apple.  LIke all of the rosés I enjoy, it is not sweet, but is great with seafood, chicken and spring pastas.  Of course, it’s also fun to sit and sip on your porch!”

Enjoy the show – and if you enjoy the wine – visit Bottles, as 20% of each bottle purchased in store will be donated back to Trinity Rep through the duration of the production.



Curt’s Picks: A Wine and Theater Pairing

curt+eric2Eric Taylor, Bottles’ General Manager, and Curt Columbus, the Richard L. Bready Artistic Director of Trinity Repertory Company, at Bottles.

Curt Columbus, the Richard L. Bready Artistic Director of Providence’s internationally acclaimed Trinity Repertory Company and wine lover, visited Bottles in March to talk with our General Manager, Eric Taylor, about “Curt’s Picks,” our new “pairing” partnership.

Beginning with their production of Arnie Louis and Bob, which opens on April 7, 2016, Trinity Rep will offer “Curt’s Picks,” wines hand-selected by Curt to pair with each show. For this new production, Curt selected cans of the Oregon-made Underwood pinot gris, pinot noir and rosé wines.

“The reason the Underwood cans of wine seem so perfect for the show is that they are like the play – quirky (wine in a can?), unexpected (ditto), and delightful (as in, this is wine in a can?!? Sign me up!!). The aesthetic of the play is also represented by the cans, in that Arnie Louis and Bob is about three ordinary-looking old men, who live extremely ordinary lives (the can), who actually have a magical world of their own (the great wine.)” – Curt Columbus


Not only will the wines be available at the theater during performances, Bottles will donate 20% from the sale of all three varieties of the Underwood cans of wine purchased in store back to Trinity Rep.

In addition, as the newly-minted “Official Sommelier of Trinity Repertory Company,” (a role we are just tickled pink about), we are working to boost audience members’ enjoyment of each production with an enhanced list of wines offered, as well as speciality cocktails paired to each show. (See the show to understand why we chose our Grumpy Cup cocktail for Arnie Louis and Bob!)

Here’s an excerpt of Curt and Eric’s conversation, in which, over a bottle of Domaine Fonstainte rosé, they discussed their love of wine, and how its magic — like theater — lies in the community and the environment in which you enjoy both.

Curt Columbus:   So here’s my thesis: Wine is something that is community based. It brings people together. You (typically) drink it with other people. And in that way it’s a lot like the theater. Theater is not something you can do by yourself. It’s not something you can play in your basement. It’s something you have to experience live.  And in that way, wine is like theater. It enlivens your senses.

The thing I admire about Bottles is that when I come here I feel like my experience has been curated. Tell me, Eric, how’d you get interested in wine.

Eric Taylor: I have always worked in restaurants. I started dishwashing in a little mom and pop German restaurant when I was 14. And I’d have to have my parents drop me off and pick me up before and after my shift. I got the restaurant bug then. I went to college and waited tables at a nice place in Lexington, Kentucky near the University of Kentucky and they had as good of a wine list as did any restaurant in Lexington, Kentucky in the mid-1990s. And it’s there I got interested in wine. I later moved to Chicago and worked at a great big fancy restaurant there named Spiaggia.

CC: Are you kidding? I used to deliver pasta to Spiaggia!

ET: Spiaggia had a beautiful sommelier named Henry Bishop and he was absolutely fantastic. He took me under his wing and taught me everything about wine. That’s where I really got the wine bug and learned a lot of the theory behind wine. I then moved to Seattle and worked at a giant restaurant named Wild Ginger.

CC: I love Wild Ginger, are you kidding? That’s probably the best restaurant in Seattle. Oh my gosh.

ET: They have an extraordinary wine list. And it’s in that Washington State wine country where I was really able to understand wine. Because I was able to go out to wine country — I was able to see the grapes as they grew in the vineyards, to see all that happens in the winery, and how it all fits together in a very sensory way. I absolutely love the sensory experience around wine. I love the smell and the color and the taste of wine and I love what it does to people when they get together. And I don’t mean drunkenness, I mean community. Just like you said, it is something you need to experience in vivo.

CC: Right! You have to experience it in life. Like the theater, you experience it live.  Wine is like theater in this way, too: People think you need a specialized taste to enjoy wine. I’ve had people, when I’ve offered them a glass of wine, say “Oh I don’t know anything about wine.” And I always respond with “But you know what you like so taste it. If you hate it, throw it down the sink. If you love it, let’s talk about other things you love.”

ET: Right! You don’t have to know a ton about the theater to sit there and appreciate it. You don’t have to know anything about wine to put it in your mouth and swallow it. It’s either you like it or you don’t.

CC: My defining wine experience was in Chicago as well. The restaurant where I worked was called Convito Italiano. It’s not there anymore – it burned down. It was a great Italian restaurant. They had a wine and prepared food shop on the first floor. I’m 21 and right out of college and one day a woman named Rhea, the buyer and manager, needed my help with the wine. I said “Rhea, I don’t know anything about wine.” And she said “Open that bottle. Drink it. Just drink. What do you think?” And again I said “I don’t know!” And she said “Tell me what you taste.”  I said “Minerals. I taste minerals.” And she said “There. Now you know something about wine.”

ET: When I teach my wine classes that’s what I try to do. I try to talk about turning sensory experiences into words.  

CC: So like the theater, wine for you really is about about experience and how it connects people.

ET: Yes, and the way that we look at wine is that there’s always a reason to celebrate. It could be a Tuesday night and your favorite show is on the tube and you’re sitting on the couch having wine with your loved ones – or it’s a big dinner party on a Friday night. Both of those things are bound by wine.

I feel very passionately about wine – and when I’m selecting what to carry in the store, this is what I’m thinking about: how, and where, and with whom will our customers be enjoying this wine. I’m thinking about all of the different situations where people are drinking wines. This is a great wine for Sunday nights with the family – this will be great with mom’s pot roast.

CC: We were just downstairs near the section that is called “The Winter Table.” That is a curated experience based around two themes. The first is the kind of food we eat in the season, and the second is this notion of “table.” Of the home space. And that is the interesting thing. You’ve created a narrative around the wines. So cool.

ET: Yes. That’s how people live. Wine and food and the experience of “the table” are oftentimes inseparable.

CC: I think that is, in fact, one of reasons why I’m drawn to wine and to food. And you said it at the beginning – I love the sensory experience of wine. And theater does the same thing – it fires on all of your cylinders so you’re constantly aware of being alive, which is so great.

ET: Yes!

CC: So I’m looking at your Winter Table display. Rich big food is thematic. But there’s a white wine up there. So talk to me because you know this – people are like “Do I drink white? Do I drink red? What do I drink with what? I don’t understand!” And there’s rosé, my favorite wine. People have no idea what to do with that! In your mind is there a split between white and red when it comes to pairing?

ET:  No. No there isn’t. When I have that pairing conversation with people my first question is: “What do you like to drink.” And it could be pinot grigio and they’re having steaks. Yes! No problem! Wine is about pleasure, wine is about being comfortable and I want people to leave with a bottle of wine that they’re comfortable with, regardless of whatever convention dictates.

CC: There you go. That’s the really important thing. That wine often gets tied to some convention. Like there’s a particular way you’re supposed to enjoy it. There’s a particular slot that it’s supposed to fit into over and over again. I can remember once I had a bottle of 1994 Tignanello. I bought it when I was in Italy and it had been sitting in my cellar for over a decade and I had a friend over who I knew would appreciate this bottle of wine. We had a take and bake pizza and we opened what was probably a $300 or $400 bottle of wine and we drank it. And it was phenomenal. With a take and bake pizza. You know what I mean?

ET:  Yes! And that’s the beautiful part of this story! If you had saved that for a special birthday with a special dinner you probably wouldn’t have remembered the story with such good memories. You honestly probably wouldn’t have remembered the wine.

CC: I think the thing I love about the way you curate the store is that you curate it for the experience of the wine not, and for the preciousness. You have $80 bottles next to $13 bottles and all of them are equally as fitted to the experience.

ET: Yes, that’s what we aim to do. Select a range of wines that are as equally as appropriate for whatever it is that is going on so that there’s something for everyone.

CC: I love that populist approach to wine. Because we have a populist approach to theater at Trinity and we pride ourselves on presenting what in some places is considered a high-art form and saying this is for the people.

ET: It’s just fermented grape juice. All of the BS and all of the notions that some people put onto wine are in most instances just affectations. The mystery and magic with wine is the community that you share it with. The magic and mystery is not in the bottle. The magic and mystery is around the table.

CC: I’m with you 100%. The great mystery and magic is the experience of having wine with other people.



In our role as the Official Sommelier of Trinity Repertory Company we are reviving our very own “Grumpy Cup” cocktail to pair with theater’s world premier of Arnie Louis and Bob. The drink is a riff on the classic British “Pimm’s Cup” cocktail with the addition of Crabbie’s alcoholic ginger beer and St. Germain elderflower liqueur. Be sure to catch a performance of the show to see why we think the Grumpy Cup is the appropriate cocktail pairing.

Our own recipe!

– 2 oz Pimm’s
– ½ btl. Crabbie’s Ginger Beer (or any other non-flavored, alcoholic ginger beer)
– Lemon Juice
Garnish: Lemon Wedge
Directions: Fill a glass with ice, pour over with Pimm’s, and top off with Crabbie’s. Stir. Squeeze lemon wedge.
*A bottle of Pimm’s makes about 15 Grumpy Cup servings.

Enjoy the show!


Elemental: WaterFire Providence’s Benefit Bash!

waterfire10WaterFire is a local institution, and on the crisp first day of fall at the Elemental WaterFire Benefit Bash, Bottles was proud to support and donate to this local arts organization that inspires Providence and its visitors.

waterfire4 waterfire5 It was a beautiful clear evening full of wine, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and the quintessential creative scenery of WaterFire, including performers, lights, live and silent auctions, and of course the blazing baskets we know and love. We supplied some of our favorite wines for the generous attendees to enjoy; a variety of French, Californian, and Italian wines to choose from, including red, white and champagne.





It was a celebration of the elemental experience of WaterFire that transforms our perceptions of the urban landscape. We hope everyone enjoyed the event and hope to see you soon at the next WaterFire event! 



Wine Tasting at WaterFire Providence! (Bottles for the Cause)

WaterFire is a Providence institution, and this summer Bottles is proud to support this local arts organization that inspires Providence and its visitors.

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WaterFire Providence - Brazier Society 2014

If you’re a member of the WaterFire Brazier Society, you may have seen some familiar Bottles folks at the wine tasting table. The Brazier Society is an exclusive membership includes access to one of the best seats on the river, catered appetizers and drinks, and even access to VIP boats through the entire WaterFire season.

WaterFIre Providence Brazier Society Membership - Waterfire ProvidenceGondola Ride - Providence, RIDessert Table at Brazier Society

The Bottles wine tasting offers 5 wines to choose from, including some of our favorite reds, whites, and rosés. If you find a wine especially delicious, 20% of orders placed at each event go to benefit WaterFire.

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See you all summer long!


Saturday, July 12th
Saturday, July 26th
Saturday, August 9th
Saturday, August 23rd
Saturday, September 27th
Saturday, October 11th
Saturday, October 25th
Saturday, November 8th

Wine by Design: Tasting & Seminar at the RISD Museum!

This spring, the RISD Museum opened “Graphic Design: Now in Production” a large-scale exhibit that explores some of the most vibrant graphic design work produced in the past 10 years; including magazines, books, posters, branding and more. Last night we were able to host a magnificent wine tasting based on, what else, wine labels!

Guests tasted wine, discussed design and were also guided along a tour of the exhibit with curator Jan Howard. RISD Graphic Design Professor, Bethany Johns teamed up with Bottles’ wine rockstar, Eric Taylor selecting wines to taste based on their beautifully designed labels.  It was a wonderful evening all around! Check out our photos below!

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Bottles for the Cause: Providence Preservation Society’s Annual Prom Bash!

What a great night it was at the Providence Preservation Society‘s Annual Prom fundraiser! Guests wore dated gowns and tuxes and danced the night away in an “Under the Sea” themed American Locomotive Works building. The event was a great success and we were proud to help out!

Check out some of our photos below! And visit our Bottles for the Cause page for more local events and information!


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Bottles for the Cause: Providence Animal Rescue League’s “The Rescue” Fundraiser

Bottles was proud to sponsor Providence Animal Rescue League at their annual fundraising event “The Rescue” this year! Along with fabulous local food and wine, we were happy to pour tasty bourbons in the VIP lounge and party all night long!

Check out our photos below!

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Be sure to check out more Bottles for the Cause events on our website here>