London’s first urban winery provides a unique experience for wine lovers
By CARLO PANDIAN
You probably think that trying out winemaking involves travelling somewhere with some guaranteed sunshine. Of course, you could go down this route and catch a few rays while you’re there, but thanks to London Cru, London’s first urban winery, becoming a winemaker for a day won’t involve too much travel time.
‘Winery’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘vineyard’. After all, fitting a few acres of vines in the middle of Zone 1 might prove a bit tricky! London Cru have come up with an original and exciting concept – they source top quality grapes from some of Europe’s best vineyards and producers, carefully transport them back to London and go about creating boutique bottles for the capital’s wine enthusiasts.
But where do you come in? Well, as part of the process, London Cru thinks London wine lovers need to know more about where their favourite drink comes from. As well as offering tours of the winery, you can take advantage of a unique opportunity to try your hand at being winemaker for a day. Spend the morning taking in the innovative surroundings and learning a bit about the oenological aspects of the winemaking (how all the components work together to produce the perfect bottle).
Once you’ve acquired the knowledge, you can try your hand at making your very own blend from London Cru’s base wines, tasting as you go, with advice on offer from the experts. After the science is out of the way, you can create three different wines, choose your favourite and London Cru will bottle it for you to take away that evening. Part of the winemaking experience also includes some culinary enjoyment too – socialise with your fellow aspiring winemakers over a relaxing two course lunch at nearby eatery The Atlas, before going back to London Cru and completing your winemaking experience.
So what’s the thinking behind the London Cru concept? Cliff Roberson, founder of independent London merchant Roberson Wine, wanted to offer the growing number of London wine enthusiasts something they couldn’t get anywhere else – a wine experience that puts London right at the centre, taking advantage of the world-class talent in the capital. He enlisted the experience of international winemaker Gavin Monery who used his expertise to source grapes from producers in Languedoc, Roussillon and Piedmont in Northern Italy. Monery explains the thinking behind the winery,
“With so many talented people creating world-class craft beers and spirits in London we thought it was time to do the same with wine, sharing the experience of making it with people who want a hands-on, informative and entertaining experience. London Cru will be the embodiment of the “Made in London” spirit, and this brand new concept fits perfectly into the city’s thriving wine scene.”
Although it’s sits in the home of an old gin distillery instead of sun-soaked vineyards of the South of France, London Cru offers something unique – wines that will have London at their heart. So if you fancy a quieter life amongst the vines, don’t jump on that plane just yet – head over to south west London and get a taste of the good life first.
Carlo Pandian is a new contributor to The Sloaney. He is an Italian expat that loves writing about London, wine and hyper-local food. You can follow him on Twitter @carlopandian.