Lauren Friel is a freelance writer and sommelier living in Boston. She’s also the owner of Rebel Rebel, a feminist natural wine bar in Somerville’s Union Square. She was named one of Imbibe Magazine’s 75 People To Watch in 2019.
Lauren is also the creative brain behind VinDrop, a beverage consulting and content development company she founded in 2014. VinDrop is fueled by Lauren's drive to bring good wine to everyone's table, and she's lucky to have written wine programs for retail and restaurant establishments up and down the East Coast, including Committee Restaurant, The Wine Bottega, BAR New Haven, and Michelin-recognized Dirt Candy NYC. She has twice won Wine Enthusiast’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants Award, once for her program at Oleana Restaurant, and once for Dirty Candy’s all-female list. Lauren’s wine programs have been featured in Food & Wine, Forbes, Elle Magazine, the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, Eater, VinePair, and Serious Eats, and she’s proud to say that the all-female wine list she developed for Dirt Candy is currently the only existing program of its kind in the US.
Lauren’s long history in the wine industry means she’s often asked to weigh in on the state of women in the industry, and she has been honored to present on the topics of feminist business models and sustainable food ways for Wine Enthusiast, Maine Wine Week, HERMuse Collective, and the Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute.
Previously, Lauren was a wine and lifestyle columnist with both ChefsFeed and Boston.com, the Boston Globe’s digital vertical, and her writing has appeared with Eater, The Kitchn, Terre Magazine, Bravo TV's The Feast, Thrillist, GOOD, Wine Advocate, and Gear Patrol. A digital portfolio of her bylines is available here.
Lauren also held the position of Wine Director at award-winning Sarma and Oleana restaurants, where her eclectic beverage programs received local and national recognition. including Wine Enthusiast's 100 Best Wine Restaurants Award and Boston Magazine's Best of Boston Award. She is as enthusiastic about Baga as she is about Barolo, and though she learned more about wine in Christian Venier’s kitchen than she has in any classroom, she does hold Advanced Certification with Distinction from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust.