The concept of urban winery was born in the western United States in the 2000s. It refers to a winery located in a city or in an industrial area. Most of the time, they are not located near wine-growing areas, so they buy and bring in grapes, which they vinify on site and then market to a mainly local clientele. Often, these wineries are not limited to production sites in urban areas and also offer their customers the possibility to have a drink, to eat or to attend shows. Urban wineries are also becoming increasingly popular venues for events such as tasting classes, festivals and weddings. Some companies are even offering their customers the opportunity to create their own vintages with the help of an oenologist, vintages that can be highly personalized (choice of grape variety, purchase of barrels, labels signed by an artist, etc.).
Urban Winery : a very American concept
In recent years, many urban wineries have sprung up across the United States. Here are some of them:
– A Donkey and Goat Winery, Berkeley, California: Family-owned winery specializing in natural wines made from Rhodesian grapes, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Anderson Valley, Mendocino Ridge and Sierra Foothills in California. donkeyandgoat.com
– Amigoni Urban Winery, Kansas City, Missouri: A family-owned winery that produces wines from grapes grown in Missouri and California. winery.amigoni.com
– Bluxome Street Winery, San Francisco, California: The first winery to be established in downtown San Francisco, Bluxome Street makes wine from grapes grown in the Sonoma and Russian River regions of California. bluxomewinery.com
– Brooklyn Winery, Brooklyn, New York: It is a wine bar, a winemaking facility, and a popular event space. They produce white wines from the Finger Lakes (NY), and reds from Long Island (NY) and California. bkwinery.com
– Cadence Winery, Seattle, Washington: Family-owned winery located a few miles south of downtown Seattle, with vineyards in the Red Mountain region, one of the smallest appellations in Washington State. Specializes in Bordeaux-style red blends. cadencewinery.com
– City Winery, Manhattan, New York: winery located in the heart of Manhattan in the Tribeca district. It is also a restaurant and a performance space that hosts a weekly musical concert. City Winery has replicated the concept in Chicago, Napa, Nashville and Atlanta. citywinery.com
– Division Winemaking Company, Portland, Oregon: A family winery whose owners were trained in France in the vineyards of Burgundy, Beaujolais and the Northern Rhône. They now vinify Gamay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc from several vineyards in the state of Oregon. divisionwinemakingcompany.com
– Eight Bells Winery, Seattle, Washington: winery that purchases grapes from vineyards in Washington and Oregon. Produces chardonnay, pinot gris and viognier in white, syrah, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, sangiovese, merlot, tempranillo, malbec and petit verdot in red. 8bellswinery.com
– Enso Winery, Portland, Oregon: opened in 2011, Enso vinifies grapes from the Horse Heaven Hills (Washington), Shenandoah Valley (California) and Willamette Valley (Oregon) regions. ensowinery.com
– Henke Winery, Cincinnati, Ohio : Established in 1996, this winery vinifies grapes from California, Indiana, New York and Northern Ohio. henkewine.com
– Red Hook Winery, Brooklyn, New York : In 2008, Abe Schoener and Robert Foley, two renowned Napa winemakers, joined forces with Mark Snyder, a Brooklyn native, to create this winery, which vinifies only grapes from the Long Island region of New York State. redhookwinery.com
– Times Ten Cellars, Dallas, Texas : winery that makes wine from its own vineyards planted in 2006 in the High Desert Mountains about 20 miles south of the town of Alpine, Texas. The vineyard is planted mostly with Syrah and Tempranillo (some Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc as well). timestencellars.com
And outside the United States?
While urban wineries are now widespread in the United States, they have yet to be emulated outside its borders. Although in the 1990s, the “garage wine” craze was born in Bordeaux, it is a category that is a bit distant from the urban winery concept. Garage wines refer to wines produced in small quantities on small surfaces, most often aged in new barrels, and whose result is extremely tannic wines. Micro-vinifications made to meet the needs of a certain wealthy clientele who judge only by Robert Parker’s scores… Far from the will of the urban wineries to integrate into the local economic fabric and to democratize wine to the greatest number of people.
Here are some examples of urban wineries that have sprung up outside the United States:
– Vancouver Urban Winery, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada : Located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, this winery produces only about 700 cases of wine per year, from grapes grown in the province. It is also a wine bar and a popular venue for events. vancouverurbanwinery.com
– Pacific Breeze Winery, New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada : winery that claims to be the first to produce “garage wines” in Canada. Since 2007, it has been producing wines from grapes grown in California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. pacificbreezewinery.com
– 8th Estate Winery, Hong Kong, China : Currently the only urban winery in Asia, it is located on the island of Ap Lei Chau, south of Hong Kong in China. The grapes are vinified on site in French and American oak barrels and arrive frozen from Australia (Clare Valley and McClaren Vale), Italy (Tuscany and Piedmont) and the United States (Washington). Many events are held here, including yoga classes! the8estatewinery.com
– London cru, London, United Kingdom : the first urban winery to open in London in 2013, grapes are brought in by refrigerated trucks and are vinified within 36 hours of harvest. Grapes being vinified at the moment are bacchus (Kent, UK), chardonnay, syrah and cabernet sauvignon (Roussillon, France), barbera (Piedmont, Italy). londoncru.co.uk