OUR HISTORY

Our mission, indeed our passion, is to offer selections of singular merit


As the end of Prohibition neared, J. Harold Shaughnessy, Grandfather of the present owners, had the idea of opening a package goods store.  Harold was a man of humble origins who had worked his way to success in several endeavors. Since the late 1800’s his in-laws, the Early’s, had owned the building that would subsequently house the Lower Falls Wine Co. Initially the shop was one of a few on the street level space.  From its opening, Lower Falls was an instant success staffed by a crew of men in pressed white shirts, dark pressed pants and black ties. Photos show several of them wearing white aprons.

The structure itself has had many uses and gone through several renovations since its original construction around 1840.  [These updates have disqualified it from any precise historical status].  Over the years, Lower Falls has grown to fill the entire footprint of the building.  The second floor, Boyden Hall, was previously a high-ceilinged open room.  It contained a theatre stage and bench seating for local gatherings such as voting and bandage rolling during World War One. There is strong evidence that Catholic masses were said on site as well.

In the ‘40’s and ‘50’s, Lower Falls sold a good flow of wine and a river of Bourbon.  From the outset, a “carriage trade” mentality was practiced.  Industry insiders marveled at the “little store in Newton” that consistently outsold other merchants in equally worthy locations.  From our vantage, we would state the reason goes back to the attention to service.

Lower Falls was one of the region’s first wine shops to embrace the ‘boom’ in wine interest that began in the ’80’s and exploded in the ‘90’s. By the late-eighties Phil followed by Chris was regularly visiting wine producing properties around the world. The relationships we forged (in many cases with the parents of the generation now running them) have allowed us to be on the cutting edge of the industry.

Our adherence to high standards has earned Lower Falls a national visibility.  Taken as a team, our staffing is regarded by our peers as being the finest in Boston. The in-house tasting regime – augmented by travel – results in upwards of 9,000 bottles per year coming under review.