Second urban winery opens in London

London Cru has competition in the form of Renegade, a new urban winery in Bethnal Green that has just launched its first two wines.

New Zealand-born winemaker Josh Hammond with his latest crop

Located in a renovated railway arch down a narrow alleyway off Bethnal Green Road, Renegade is run by LSE graduate Warwick Smith and New Zealand-born winemaker Josh Hammond.

The pair were inspired by the success of other urban wineries in Denver, Sydney, Hong Kong and Paris, and have chosen to launch their project with a homegrown Hertfordshire Bacchus and a Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc.

Renegade Bacchus (left) and Sauvignon Blanc

The Bacchus grapes are grown in the town of Ledbury on a south-facing hillside overlooking the Malvern Hills. A portion of the grapes are fermented on skins and aged in French oak. Taking things back to basics, grapes are stomped by foot.

The £18 wine is said to boast aromas of elderflower and green apples. The Sauvignon meanwhile, hails from Blaye in Bordeaux. Most of the grapes are fermented in stainless steel, while a small portion see French oak.

Priced at £16, the wine offers notes of “gunpowder, flint, lime zest and grapefruit”. The labels feature London landmarks like Battersea Power Station and Tower Bridge.

The pair also have a Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir from Lombardy, and a blanc de noirs sparkler from Suffolk in the pipeline.

Launching the company last March, Renegade’s first vintage went on sale this week in time for London Wine Week, with its first harvest completed last autumn.

“We try to make slightly unusual, edgy urban wines. Because urban wineries are so new, I didn’t want to make wines that people would feel intimidated by,” Smith told the Evening Standard.

“You make great wines by making great use of the incredible fruit. There’s no need to go super flash, and no need to buy expensive presses in the first year. If you have to press with feet then just get in there and press it,” he added.

Production currently lies at just 7,500 bottles, but Hammond and Smith plan to expand to 20,000 bottles in the near future.

The winery boasts a tap room bar where wine lovers can enjoy their drops on Friday and Saturday nights.

In what looks like the start of a small trend, independent wine retailer Vagabond is due to open an urban winery at Battersea Power Station this summer.

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