Roberson Wine are forever innovating. Well-established as a leading London fine-wine retailer, they have an enviable calendar of tastings throughout the year, and are also connected to super-trendy wine fanzine, Noble Rot. Their latest wheeze is London's very own winery, London Cru.
It was announced today that this new venture will be making its first wines this autumn from grapes imported from 'three top French producers'. They are Mas Coutelou, the much-admired natural winemakers from the Languedoc-Roussillon (see one of last month's wines of the week, for example), Jonqueres d'Oriola of Ch Corneilla in Roussillon, and Jacques Lurton of the well-known French wine dynasty.
Varieties to be supplied include Chardonnay, Syrah, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc and will total 22 tonnes. Refrigerated transport will get the hand-harvested fruit from vine to Kensington crusher in 36 hours. London Cru winemaker Gavin Monery said, 'We want to be part of the process of convincing people to care more about the wines they drink and where they come from. We hope that the opportunity to get involved with the winemaking process, to touch, see and taste the product from grape through to the finished wine, will inspire people to care a bit more about what's in the bottle.'
The wines will wisely be classified as European Community Wine, rather than British Wine, a term associated with cheap fortified wine made from imported grape concentrate (and nothing to do with English wine made from freshly picked grapes). The first wines will be on sale from mid 2014.
Urban wineries are nothing new in the US (Brooklyn has several, for instance) but this is a first for the UK. Future plans include a custom-crush proposition, as well as tours and tastings for the public, and an events space available for private hire.
It is an intriguing idea, made especially notable thanks to the enthusiasm and professionalism of the Roberson team and their partners. We hope to bring you a peak behind the scenes next month to reveal more about London's first winery.