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London Cru is central London’s first winery

Bespoke winemaking equipment is currently being installed at London Cru – central London's first winery – and the first grapes will be processed in September. The winery plans to open to the public in November

London Cru will be a state of the art, boutique winery, with grapes sourced from prestigious vineyards in Bordeaux, Languedoc and the Roussillon. The venture is backed by Cliff Roberson, founder of Roberson Wine and investor Will Tomlinson.

Winemaker Gavin Monery (pictured above) will oversee everything from grape deliveries through to processing, fermenting, aging and bottling. Gavin started his wine career in 2000 in his native Western Australia, and has worked at some of the world’s top wineries, including Cullen Wines, Moss Wood and Jean-Louis Chave.

Grapes will come from growers sourced by Gavin and Roberson Wine’s senior buyer and master of wine student, Mark Andrew. The first batch of fruit from the Languedoc and Roussillon will arrive in September, with another shipment from Bordeaux arriving soon afterwards.

Three top French producers are supplying the fruit: Jeff Coutelou of ‘Mas Coutelou’, one of the Languedoc-Roussillon’s foremost producers of Natural Wine; William Jonquères d’Oriola of the historic Château Corneilla; and Jacques Lurton, the renowned French “Flying Winemaker”. Jeff Coutelou will supply Cabernet Sauvignon, William Jonquères d’Oriola is providing Chardonnay and Syrah, and Jacques Lurton, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc. In total, London Cru expects to take delivery of 22 tonnes of fruit this Autumn

Grapes will be hand harvested, transported in refrigerated trucks and will arrive at London Cru within 36 hours. The fruit will then be carefully processed and vinified with the first limited edition London Cru wine expected to go on sale from mid 2014 onwards.

The wines will be classified as European Community Wine as opposed to British Wine. Explaining this decision winemaker Gavin says: “British Wine is associated with wines made from concentrated must rather than fresh grapes, but these classifications are purely an administrative choice. The important thing is that our wines are London Cru wines, meaning we will make them from fresh fruit, transported as carefully as possible and made by a skilled team in London.

Gavin and Mark will be at the vineyards in September to oversee the harvest. The fruit will be hand harvested and carefully transported back to London in refrigerated trucks, where it’s expected to reach London Cru in just 36 hours.

Speaking about the types of wine that London Cru will make, Gavin says: “Being based in London with no rules completely liberates us. We have carte blanche to turn top quality fruit into the best, most interesting wines we can make”.

London Cru will offer a unique experience for people wanting to get more involved in the winemaking process without having to leave London. Doors open to the public in November, when winery tours and tastings will begin. It will also be available for hire as a unique events space in the city.

Housed in a former gin distillery, London Cru is being built under Roberson Wine’s Earls Court head office, near its shop in Kensington.

Explaining the decision to launch the winery, Gavin said: “With so many talented people creating world-class craft beers and spirits in London we thought it was a great time to do the same with wine, and share the experience of making it with people who want a hands-on, informative and entertaining experience.

“We realise that this is going to be a challenge, but we have all of the tools, skills and experience to make top quality wines in an urban environment. We also have the freedom to create the styles we want without the rules that apply to so many wine regions.”


25 July 2013 - Felicity Murray