Whether you are visiting or just looking for something different to do on the weekend then why don’t you head down to an Urban Winery. Below are three Urban Wineries in London who all serve up a smile, a cracking story on their escapade into the Urban Wine business and most importantly a great glass of wine.
Urban Wineries are a recent phenomenon although over the last four years we have seen a number open their doors to the public across the city. From Battersea in the south, to Bethnal Green in the east and Victoria in the city centre, you are never too far from an Urban Winery.
What is an Urban Winery?
Before we go on, let’s just make sure we all know what an urban winery is. Wikipedia defines an Urban Winery as a facility located in a city or built up area where the owners or proprietors make wine. We like to think of them as a place of refuge, where kick ass wine is made, music is played and tasty food is served by savage entrepreneurs.
How do Urban Wineries in London work?
Usually a winery will be located in a rural area close to where the vines grow. Because the grapes are the primary ingredient in wine, this makes a whole lot of sense. Conversely, urban winemakers will purchase grapes from growers, either domestically or import them from overseas. They will visit the wine growers and assess their growing practices, the health of their vines and overall quality of the fruit they produce. Once the grapes have been picked by the grower, they are then sent [fairly quickly] to the urban winemaking facility.
Once the grapes have been removed from the vine, their skin is likely to be split or attacked by insects. This will start the fermentation process (turning the grape juice into wine) prematurely. Let’s just leave it at that as the proprietors at all three urban wineries will talk you through the winemaking process in more detail. By the time you leave you will be a full bottle, or half, depending on how quickly you drink it!
Opened in 2017 by winemaker Sergio and wife Lynsey, Blackbook Urban Winery is located in Battersea under a rail arch just north of Clapham Common. Earlier this year they released their first vintage of wines which comprised of a Rosé, Chardonnay, Blanc de Blanc and Pinot Noir. The pair source all their fruit from growers in the United Kingdom and are keen supporters of the free wine movement. In August they opened up their urban winery to group tours and tastings. We highly recommend giving them a call and organising a visit.
Established in 2016 by Warwick Smith, Renegade is an urban winery and bar in Bethnal Green, East London. Unlike Sergio and Lynsey at Blackbook, Warwick is making small batch artisanal wines using grapes grown in both the UK and continental Europe. All the fruit he purchases has been hand harvested and then vinified in London.
Renegade have a bar set up inside their urban winery with enough seating for about fifty people. They have a great selection of wines by the glass and also sell wines from other urban winemakers from as far away as Melbourne, Australia and Capetown, South Africa. If you head down make sure you try their 2017 Bethnal Bubbles. It is a dry hopped English sparkling wine made from grapes grown in Herefordshire.
Renegade also take bookings for corporate events and private parties. They serve a small selection of bites and shared plates. There is also a nori taco shop a couple of rail arches down which slide down a treat after a couple of glasses of wine. We highly recommend you pay Warwick and the team a visit.
Address: Arch 12, Gales Gardens, Bethnal Green London, E2 0EJ
Tasting and exploring new wines was once a sweet perk of the wine trade. Vagabond wine bars allow everyone, no matter your expertise, to sample and discover over one hundred wines by the glass. They use Enomatic wine dispensers which allow you to sample wines in tiny pours before committing to a full glass. From natural to organic and orange to pink, there is something for everyone.
Vagabond urban wine bars are hugely popular and often host informative wine evenings and guided events. For more information check out their website for the latest events. Vagabond is a great place to spend an afternoon or evening. We recommend you book a table in advance.
For location details click on the links referenced above.
Savage Vines sells wines made by urban wineries in our online wine store. Include a couple of bottles in your next mixed case purchase and support the British wine economy.
We send you 2 or 3 sommelier selected wines’ a month, made by young independent producers from all over the world, directly to your home or office. The idea is we introduce you to new wines so that you can start to get an appreciation for the different regions and styles. Prices start from £29.95 a month including delivery. Along with that, our subscribers’ receive 25% off wine repurchases, wine podcasts, Spotify playlists and a heap of great information on wine related travel ideas.