Coming Right Up: Philanthropic Boozing at Urban Grape

Who says no good deed goes unpunished? The Urban Grape, one of our favorite boutique wine shops, is holding a sake seminar to benefit the Kiuchi Earthquake/Tsunami Fund on Sunday, May 22, from 7 to 9 p.m. The entrance fee will go directly to help feed, house, and clothe disaster victims, and renowned sake sommelier Nancy Cushman of O Ya will be conducting a tasting and information session. Sounds like a win-win to us.

Cushman, who studied in Japan under world-famous sake expert John Gauntner, says many people have misconceptions about the drink, the most common being that it’s best served warm, it tastes like rubbing alcohol, and it’s only good with Japanese food.

“Sake is a surprisingly fantastic partner to many different cuisines,” says Cushman. “I drink Junmai-type sake with pizza!”

Guests can expect to learn about different types of sake and how to pair them with various foods, but can also request recommendations based on wine preferences. “And we’re going to taste some really delicate, lovely sake,” says Cushman.

One hundred percent of proceeds are going directly to the Kiuchi Earthquake/Tsunami Fund, started by the Kiuchi sake and beer brewery. According to Cushman and UG co-owner Hadley Douglas, the brewery has completely halted alcohol production and is instead distilling and bottling fresh drinking water while attempting to house and clothe neighbors who’ve been affected by the recent disasters.

Space is limited, so please email to secure your spot.

$25, 7 to 9 p.m., the Urban Grape, 7 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill, 617-232-4831,

Lindsay Tucker is a Chowder contributor.