A new boutique winery has opened in the capital, with a focus on hand-crafted bottles. Renegade London Wine, which also operates the city’s first winery tap-room, is owned by Warwick Smith. New Zealander Josh Hammond, previously at Villa Maria for three years, is the winemaker.
Smith acquired the site, located under railway arches in Bethnal Green, last October. Since then he has been working with Hammond to source grapes from small growers in the UK and Europe. The first Renegade wines are an English Bacchus (RRP £18) and a Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc made using grapes grown in Blaye (RRP £16). A wild-ferment, barrel-aged Chardonnay and Pinot Noir will be released later in the summer.
‘Making wine here, we’re not bound by any traditions. We can go crazy and do whatever we like,’ said Hammond, who hopes to increase the range in the future, adding an English sparkling wine and off-beat varietals. The winey has produced 7,500 bottles this year but is aiming to increase production to 25,000 bottles.
Wines are made using a wooden basket press, then bottled, labelled and wax-sealed by hand. Labels feature iconic London landmarks such as Battersea Power Station. ‘There is a great history of wine and winemaking in London going back centuries, so we’re bringing winemaking back to the city,’ said Smith, who quit his career in finance at the end of 2015 to focus on the Renegade project.
Renegade London Wine will be supplying its wines at trade prices to local on-trade venues. For enquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07502 991221.
Read a full interview with Smith here.
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