You have to really want to find the Dedalus Wine Shop at 95 College Street in Burlington. The door to the biz, which is located in an office building next to the South Square senior facility, is around the back. And despite being open for five months, "We sort of fly under the radar," explains co-owner Jason Zuliani, the former wine director at NECI. Limited hours heighten the challenge: The store is only open from 4 to 8 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or by appointment.
What's there? "Right now it's a relatively small inventory, about 100 selections," says Zuliani, who claims he's tasted all but one of the wines he offers. But because of its small size, Dedalus — named after the main character in James Joyce's Ulysses — stocks many less-common varietals such as Italian Arneis and Lambrusco or Portuguese Touriga Franca. The bottles are stashed in wooden crates along the walls in the entryway and in a former office.
Zuliani explains that while he plans to increase the inventory significantly with time, his business already competes on wine knowledge and level of service. For example, they keep track of the wines each customer buys so they can point her towards good matches in the future. He and his partner, Tim Banks, also print a monthly newsletter, offer a variety of "wine clubs" and send detailed weekly updates to their loyal customers.
Education comes naturally to these wine merchants. Zuliani and David Garaventa, NECI's senior wine educator, alternate teaching classes on the last Sunday of each month. February's offering, which is open to the public, will be a lesson on identifying the main flavor components of wine: acidity, tannins, sweetness and alcohol.