London urban winery, Blackbook Winery, has this month released the first London-grown, London-made wine since Roman times.
‘Tamesis’ is a single vineyard still wine made from Bacchus grapes grown at Forty Hall Vineyard, in Enfield, North London.
Named after the Roman word for the River Thames, which is a stone’s throw from the winery, the label was designed by London artist, Matthew R. Frame, who took inspiration from the river, and the Roman origins of wine in England.
The label references three key symbols: the component parts of the Thyrsus, a staff wielded by the Roman God of wine (Bacchus); the Battersea Shield believed to date back to the 1st century BC; and the bee wing that is a reference to the honey laden Thyrsus and the buzzing army of volunteers at Forty Hall.
Tamesis is one of three new releases this spring for Blackbook Winery, which produced its first wines in 2017. Tamesis will be joined by “I’d Rather be a Rebel”, a 2018 rosé produced from 100% Pinot noir from Crouch Valley Vineyard, in Essex, and “The Mix-Up”, a 2018 50-50 Bacchus-Ortega blend, made from grapes grown at Redhill Farm Estate in Kent.
“We are proud of our London heritage and passionate about the city,” said Sergio Verrillo, co-founder and winemaker. “We strive to demonstrate that world class wine can be produced in an urban winery and believe that our new Tamesis wine is a perfect example. Forty Hall Vineyard is the only commercial-scale vineyard in London and is run as a social enterprise engaging a committed set of enthusiastic volunteers. It is certified organic, avoiding the use of synthetic fungicides, herbicides or fertilisers to encourage sustainability, biodiversity and natural balance. I am a winemaker who likes to follow a traditional winemaking approach with low sulphur wines and indigenous ferments, seeking to preserve the varietal characters in its wines.”
Blackbook’s 2018 vintage of approximately 17,000 bottles has more than tripled from the 5,500 in 2017, and it has extended the range from four to eight wines, using grapes sourced from seven vineyards, all within two hours of London.
Since its launch, Blackbook has secured listings at a range of premium, wine-centric London merchants, bars and restaurants including Frenchie’s, Trinity Restaurant and 67 Pall Mall, as well as recently expanding its distribution to Edinburgh and Glasgow. The winery recently won a gold medal at the IEWA awards for its 2017 Chardonnay which was also placed second out of 34 international Chardonnays at the South African annual ‘Lismore Tasting’, as reported by Tim Atkin MW.
The winery hosts weekly winery experiences and tasting sessions, as well as special events throughout the year, led by winemaker and co-founder, Sergio Verrillo. It has launched an exclusive wine club, The Black Book, which offers members first access to the new releases as well as exclusive events at the winery throughout the year, including a post-harvest barrel tasting at the winery.