Say Hello to Ralph Hersom!

Finding Connections and Community in The Cove

Born in Worcester and raised in South Grafton, Massachusetts, Ralph Hersom has been living in Hingham since May 1, 2022. “I don't have family close by,” he says. However, he has found connections and community in The Cove.
“The best part of living in Hingham is seeing my customers daily as many have become close personal friends,” he says thoughtfully. Ralph is the owner of Ralph’s Hingham Wine Merchant and is involved in the Hingham community. Through hosting events, such as fundraisers, he has helped countless people in need over the years.
His heart for others stems from his parents and his upbringing.
Learning Perseverance and Grit
“My hero would be my mom,” exclaims Ralph. “She passed away just shy of her 86th birthday pre-Covid. She taught me perseverance and grit.”
When Ralph’s dad died of cancer at the age of 40 in 1974, Ralph’s mom was left to raise five kids ages 2, 4, 14, 16, and 18. It was no easy task and Ralph was only 4 years old at the time. Seeing his mother’s example taught him volumes in life.
Blazing His Own Trail
Ralph originally planned on becoming an electrical engineer but soon had a change of heart.
“While studying Electrical Engineering at Central New England, I decided to switch career paths and dropped out of school,” admits Ralph. During his early college years, he was “bitten by the wine bug.”
After reading the June 15, 1993 issue of The Wine Spectator titled “America’s Playground for Wine Lovers,” Ralph relocated to San Francisco, California to pursue his passion.
“I dropped out of college, my family freaked out (temporarily until I started meeting rock stars and movie stars) as I was on a full academic scholarship!” says Ralph.
To date, Ralph has spent a total of 29 years in the wine business. Half of that time he spent as a sommelier in some of the top restaurants in the US, including Le Cirque 2000.

“I have been fortunate to travel the world, love it, in pursuit of the grape and to have eaten at some of the world’s greatest restaurants,” he points out.
His big break came in 1996 when Windows on the World atop the World Trade Center was due to reopen after a $25 million dollar renovation since it had been closed since the 1993 terrorist bombing. At the age of 25, Ralph was hired by Kevin Zraly to become Cellarmaster there. When Le Cirque was relocating to The Palace Hotel, owner Sirio Maccioni called Kevin for a recommendation for someone to run the wine program. It was Ralph who was top of the list. For the next seven years, he served rock stars and movie stars, diplomats and debutantes and it was here that his career really took off.
Fueling his other passion, music, was easy as Sony BMG was located just up the street on Madison Ave. Ralph quickly befriended many heads of record labels as well as musicians living a life like the kid in the movie “Almost Famous.” Ralph jokes, “No, my family does not own a Chateau in Bordeaux or anything crazy like that.”
Fun Facts
When Ralph isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his dog friend named Ella. He likes her constant companionship and unconditional love.
One fun fact about Ralph is that his biggest fear is heights. He also fears not always having Chapstick OG in his pocket!
We also asked Ralph a few of his favorite things. Here’s what he had to say:
Quick Fire Favorites
Activities/Hobbies: Eating and Drinking! Concerts for sure as well as Travel. Cardio in Bare Cove
as well as the gym trying to balance out all the eating and drinking which is not always easy!
Hang Out: 75 Lambert’s Lane Cohasset
Restaurants: Blue Ribbon Sushi, Nautilus, and Peach Farm in Boston
Local Restaurants: Salt Society Scituate and Tosca Hingham
Vacation Destination: Coral Beach Club Bermuda
Sports Team: Boston’s Usual Suspects
TV Show Series: Eastbound and Down
Movie: Memento
Music: DMB/Soul Asylum/Bill Evan’s Trio/The Smiths
Family Dinner: Beef Tenderloin, Katie Potatoes & Creamed Spinach paired with Aged Bordeaux 
We are honored to feature Ralph Hersom in this month’s issue. Be sure to say hello to him when you see him out and about. He loves to meet friendly folks downtown and in the Cove neighborhood (and that means you!).