The story of The Magnolia Wine Company began in Russia, sometime in the late nineteenth century. The details are a bit sketchy, but it is believed that this was where my grandfather, Israel “Izzy” Faberman was born. At some point in his early teens, Israel was sent off to Boston to live with a relative. Early on, Izzy sold fruit out of a pushcart in the original Quincy Market. He worked hard and soon opened a small grocery store.
Located on the corner of Magnolia and Dudley streets (Roxbury), the original Magnolia Market operated successfully for over forty years, from the early 1930’s to the mid 1970’s. This period included gasoline rationing and food coupons during the Second World War. Izzy married Bess White. Together they raised five children, including three boys. As the boys grew older they each took positions in the shop. Back then, the business was something like an urban general store. My grandfather became a butcher, my dad, Herb ran the liquor department and my uncles did various other jobs. When a fire closed the business in 1975 (my freshman year in college), my grandfather retired. He was 82 at the time.
Moving to Watertown in 1977
In 1977, my dad and his youngest brother, Martin bought the McHugh’s Package store in Watertown. Back then; liquor stores were called package stores or “packies” because they sold liquor in closed containers or “packages” rather single drinks poured from open bottles. During that time, I graduated from Connecticut College with a degree in Government. Since the drinking age was 18 years old back then, I was also able to complete a second major in alcohol studies. As much as I liked to drink beer in college, it was the wine-end of the business that began to interest me. After working for a fine wine wholesaler in Southern California for three years, I returned to Watertown to work in the family business
McHugh’s Become The Magnolia Wine Company in 2007
After working closely with my dad for a number of years, I began to shift the focus of the business more towards wine sales. To emphasize this change, I remodeled the shop in 2007 and changed the name to The Magnolia Wine Company (as a tribute to my pops and his father). Although the look of the shop has changed, our attitude has not. Our wine buying philosophy remains unchanged: fine wines at fair prices. As a fixture in the local community for 34 years, we are committed as ever to our neighbors and totally dedicated to customer satisfaction.
Yes, we still sell beer. In fact our beer section has greatly expanded and is far more interesting than ever before. We haven’t forgotten about our loyal liquor customers either. Our liquor department now features an extensive selection of single malt scotches and specialty spirits as well as traditional favorites. As far as the possibility of a fourth generation Faber at Magnolia, well we will just have to wait and see. I am fortunate to have a wonderful and hardworking daughter in college and a clever and ambitious teenage son waiting in the wings.