Renegade Urban Winery
We finished our London Wine tour with a visit to Renegade Urban Winery in the Gales Garden area of London. Urban wineries have become popular in big cities. They are legit wineries that produce and sell their own wine at a tasting room in major cities. First a little education…there is a difference between a vineyard and a winery. This was a little confusing to me in the beginning. A vineyard grows the grapes and a winery makes the wine. Sometimes they are located at the same location. With the amount of space a vineyard demands it is impossible to operate a vineyard in a big city. An urban winery will purchase grapes from a vineyard and make their own wine. It is similar to the relationship between a farmer and a chef(I borrowed that analogy, but it makes sense). Enough background let’s move on to Renegade Urban Winery. This winery is unique in many ways from its location to their labels. We followed our phone directions and it took us through a back alley. We thought this can’t be it but it is located at what seems to be the back doors of local businesses. I immediately liked before we even tasted the wine.
Walking inside it gave off a modern yet rustic feel. Tom, the tasting room host, welcomed us to the winery. He was a pleasure to talk to and lead us through our tasting. The bottle labels immediately grab your attention. Renegade has taken label art to the next level. The owners strive to celebrate all the diversity of the United Kingdom. The labels are named after people who represent the UK. Anyone can apply to be on the label. Not only are the wines named after a random person, it includes a picture of their eyes. We even sat next to Alf’s daughter. Alf was chosen to be on a red blend wine with notes of cherry and leather. Charles enjoyed this wine. I liked the Melissa, a clean and bright pinot grigio. It was organic with little filtration. They also offer beer, cocktails and food. After our tasting we sat outside and had a snack of hummus and pita. Graham and Griffin had made their way to London Stadium to watch a football match between West Ham United and Burnley . After they arrived they finished off the hummus.
When the owners began their winery they made the wine according to the vineyard directions. They soon discovered that following someone else's recipe wasn’t their end game. They decided to make their wine their way, incorporating new innovative ideas with the old techniques. I would say they have created wines that are truly fresh. Only 12-14 wines are produced each year. 50% of their grapes come from the UK and the other half from all over Europe. An interesting fact…it is illegal to make wine in the UK with grapes not grown in European countries.
Our trip to England was a last minute opportunity that turned into a family vacation. We experienced as much of the culture, food and wine as we could in the short time we were there. Although we enjoyed a lot of experiences, a week is in no way enough time to see, do and eat all there is. The 3 wine bars/wineries were just a sampling of what is available and we look forward to going back.