The winemakers club was the venue chosen for the day and Renegade, Blackbook, Ldn Cru and Vagabond all came together in the atmospheric venue situated in the vaulted arches of Holburn viaduct.

The candle lit venue has a great wine history and is sprinkled with fascinating wine paraphernalia but it was slightly disappointing that it had been chosen as a venue to host a celebration of English urban winemaking when neither the onsite bar nor the shop carry any English wines.

Putting the disappointment of this realisation to one side, the Urban Winery Event was busy and it was encouraging to see plenty of visitors throughout the day. The diversity of English wine styles was designed to truly capture the imagination.

Winemaker at Vagabond, Jose Quintana had a good example of what recent legislation changes have made possible with the production of a Piquette. Aimed at the growing No/Low alcohol market and making use of a waste product, Piquette may have been an experiment but it was quite a talking point on the day. “This winemaking fits very well with the playful nature of Vagabond,” said Jose.

Renegade had a Pinot Noir wine in a magnum format from 2020 that contained a mix of 60% Italian, 20% German and 20% UK grapes. Made at the winery in Walthamstow this unique blend is a fine example of how the winemaking team are willing to push the traditional boundaries. After all the company moto is “breaking the rules, one bottle at a time.” 

Ldn Cru had a busy day and the Pinot Gris Sparkling Rosé 2022 was popular with both press and trade visitors alike. “The great colour is achieved with five days of skin maceration,” winemaker Alex Hurley explained. There was more good news from Ldn Cru the only Urban winery in attendance to have their own vineyard. For 2024 there will be a new block of Bacchus vines planted at Foxhole vineyard.

Blackbook also had a treat for those at the tasting with news of the release of Headlights On, a truly limited edition (120 bottles) which is a collaboration between Blackbook urban winery and Wild Nothing, an Indie rock project. Headlights On is a traditional Method Seyval Blanc aged for four years. The wine can be ordered as a bundle alongside the album ‘Hold’ on which the track Headlights On can be found.

The variety and imagination presented at this Urban Winery trade tasting were great to see and the future of urban winemaking looks very exciting indeed.