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The Renegade winery
If I had been told a few years ago that I would soon be drinking a lusty Bacchus wine from Herefordshire grapes fermented partly in a clay amphora in a new winery under a railway arch in a back alley in Bethnal Green I would have opted out.
But here I was over Christmas in Warwick Smith’s venture called Renegade London Wine, one of the two new London wineries I visited over Christmas and which I have been following since they were both at the planning stage.
The other is Blackbook in Battersea set up by Plumpton-trained ex sommelier Sergio Verrillo from America and his wife Lynsey. This doesn’t yet have an atmospheric wine bar like Renegade but it has achieved a lot in a short space of time. It has attracted an astonishing amount of publicity for such a small operation from Harpers through The Times and others to City AM for its wines which are already highly regarded. They have tripled production this year to nearly 18,000 bottles and the current rosé has already sold out.
Wine guru Matthew Jukes praised their chardonnay to the skies. Blackbook already does tasting tours and has been taking early steps to establish its own vineyard in England to run an integrated operation. These boys are not without ambition. Unsurprisingly Sergio admits that success so far has “massively exceeded my expectations”.
Renegade is on a similar ambitious growth path and is selling what is claimed to be the first sparkling wine for centuries made (though not grown) in London for a cheeky £100 a bottle (photo below) which has apparently been selling very well – though whether to collectors or consumers is a moot point.Tags: battersea, green, hawksmoor bethnal, London, winery