Tom Boyle has a love affair with wine. The new sommelier for Ridgway Bar & Grill has been fascinated by wine since he was a youngster. “It was offered for me to taste, so I appreciated it sooner than most of my peers,” Boyle remembers.
That early appreciation also fueled his passion for teaching others about wine. “I am able to help people expand their pleasure of drinking wine and to add a more cerebral element as well,” he says.
Ridgway Bar & Grill is known for having a well-curated wine list. In fact, the restaurant has earned Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence annually since 2013. Prior to being tapped as Ridgway’s sommelier, Boyle managed the restaurant as well as Tony’s Off Third, the adjacent boutique-wine, pastry, and coffee shop.
Boyle, a certified sommelier, continues to manage wine sales and tasting events at Tony’s under the guidance of Sukie Honeycutt, co-owner and wine director. Its neighborhood feel is something Boyle embraces.
“The interaction with customers, talking about wine; it’s a great way to educate and get different wines [to] Naples residents,” Boyle says. “It’s great to help someone build their comfort level with wine, find what they enjoy, and feel less intimidated. It’s equally exciting to work with the connoisseurs.”
Tom Boyle’s Valentine’s Day Wine Selections
Since many celebrate Valentine’s Day this month, Naples Illustrated asked Boyle to recommend two endearing wine picks.
Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé Champagne: Beautiful and elegant, light and fresh, notes of strawberry and raspberry lead to a clean, dry finish in this iconic go-to bubbly. Even people claiming to dislike Champagne often love this one.
Flowers Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2021: Skip roses for Valentine’s Day and instead enthrall the senses with this new vintage by Flowers. It features a lush nose of berries and baking spice, with more ripe cherries and blueberries on the palate. Like other Pinots from the Sonoma Coast, it’s light in body but forward in flavor.