The New Urban Winery

The New Urban Winery

Creating wine in a warehouse in Brooklyn or a garage in Portland? Why not? It is artisanal entrepreneurship at its finest. And it’s the new, spreading-like-wildfire, trend in wine. A wave of urban wineries are taking over cities across the nation, and it’s letting wine drinkers visit tasting rooms and meet the winemakers without leaving city limits. Wine makers buy grapes from the world’s most fertile regions (think France, America’s West Coast, Australia) and turn them into wine in low-rent, super convenient, close-to-home locations.

It seems to have started with millennial wine-drinkers-turned-wine-makers in cities like Portland, San Francisco, New York, Denver, and Seattle (the usual culprits for millennial-trend origins) and now is gaining popularity and credibility in the larger (sometimes a bit unaccepting to new ideas) wine world.
What’s the deal? What’s the appeal? For one, urban wineries usually strive to be less intimidating, more intimate and get you closer to the process than their “big business” counterparts. As a matter of fact, the process is quite often happening very near to where you’re learning about and tasting the wines. Sometimes you can even watch the wine-making process through big windows right in the tasting room, like at the popular Bluxome Street Winery in San Francisco. Need to get even closer? Often, you can become part of the process! Like at City Winery in New York City. Many urban wineries like this one invite the public (or sometimes “members” of their wine club) to participate in the actual wine-making. It’s all very communal and community-oriented.

In that community spirit that urban wineries tend to embody, several cities are establishing urban winery “alliances” or “collectives” where the wine makers come together and share resources, host tastings together, sometimes even take up residence in the same building – as with a few of wineries that make up the Southeast Wine Collective in Portland. And fear not! If the wineries are a bit more spread out across a city, urban winery tours are being organized and offered by companies. San Francisco and Portland have popular urban winery tours.

And not to leave out the rest of the country – urban wineries are popping up all across the U.S.! Take Stray Grape in San Antonio. Started by three sisters, they source grapes from all over the world and make wine in Texas! And the Vinavanti Urban Winery, whose wines are unfiltered, unoaked, and never sulfited recently debuted a wine called The Maverick, which is the first certified organic wine grown and produced in San Diego County. So, whether they are growing grapes in their backyard or importing them, urban wineries are getting the job done and don’t appear to be slowing down at all. If anything, they are making a mark on the wine industry as a whole and seem to be here to stay!

Kristine has been researching, writing about, and enjoying beverages for years. A freelance writer, she's wife to one cool guy, and mom to another. She's an avid researcher, reader, hiker, texter, hat wearer and music listener. She lives in Phoenix with the aforementioned cool guys and all three love to explore restaurants and travel. She can be reached at krisgresh@yahoo.com

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