A growing appetite for innovation and local grapes has led to winemakers setting up production in surprisingly urban settings. Brooklyn and New Zealand’s urban winery scenes have been bringing viticulture to their city centres for the good part of a decade. Now, at long last, we’re seeing this trend appear in London, as well as in Downtown Los Angeles and Melbourne, and it feels like it’s right on time.
In London, 34 Mayfair have just launched an urban wines list with Bethnal Green’s Renegade Wines (they opened London’s first wine tap room in May 2017), Paris’s Les Vignerons Parisiens and Cape Town’s Dorrance. They’re the first restaurant in the UK to create a dedicated section to urban wineries, and the bottles selected are offered exclusively to 34 Mayfair. Look out for the Brooklyn wineries they’re set to add in the future, too.
Over in Downtown Los Angeles, the Angeleno Wine Company is working to reinstate winemaking to the neighbourhood that started it all. The first commercial winery in California was built in 1833 in DTLA, establishing the city as the heartland of southern California’s wine scene, before prohibition took hold. Angeleno Wines plan to bring back the tradition, becoming the first urban winery to open in the area in 100 years. They’ll be growing the grapes up in Agua Dolce, then crushing and fermenting them in their warehouse in DTLA. Look out for the first pick, arriving late summer.
And in Melbourne, Noisy Ritual’s people-powered winery is a first for the city. After discovering a wine fermenter beneath his house, founder Cam Nicol ordered half a tonne of premium shiraz grapes and invited some friends over to help stomp them. Word spread and Noisy Ritual was born, spurring on the city’s urban wine-making revival. Members sign up for the year to help stomp, press and bottle the wine, and are then given six bottles of the current vintage and three barrel-tasting sessions.
Summer in the city never sounded so appealing – salut!