London Cru Urban Winery
The winery is located in a somewhat shabby corner of Earls Court, sandwiched between a typical London housing estate and a storage company. However, as you walk down the driveway, which is decorated with a massive and colourful mural of a wine bottle, it becomes a lot more friendly. When I walked into the brightly lit and spacious winery, I was welcomed by Gavin the wine maker and owner of London Cru.
While we waited for the others on the tour to arrive, Gavin explained to me that London Cru only opened in November of 2013 and that it's pretty much a one man show. The winery is not just about making great wine. Gavin, who has been a wine maker for a long time and worked on many a wine farm, thought it would be a great idea to open up a winery in the heart of London and give urbanites the chance to learn about and get involved in the art of making wine. So when Gavin is not sorting grapes and turning them into wine, he welcomes Londoners into his winery for tours, tastings and winemaker for a day classes.
Then the others arrived and Gavin's tour kicked off. He explained that he himself goes over to the continent and oversees the picking of the grapes. Then when they are shipped over from Europe, he and a couple of volunteers carefully select them for quality. He showed us how the fruit is destemmed, how he uses his colourful forklift to put the berries in large tanks where they ferment. He talked about pressing wine, which to my disappointment Gavin doesn't do with his feet, but with a giant wine press. And he also explained how the wine is finally put in barrels. The bottling line is still on order, so for now that's done by hand.
Gavin finished his tour by letting us taste four of his wines; a rosé, a Syrah, a Barbera and a Cabernet-Sauvignon. As this was the first harvest he's done quite recently, the wine wasn't completely finished just yet, but I liked them nonetheless. Which in my book means they were pretty damn quality.
You can find London Cru in Earls Court at:
21/27 Seagrave Rd
London SW6 1RP
+44 (0)20 7381 7871