Thursday, August 27, 2015

Walthamstow Wine

credit: Barry Fontaine
In 1667 Samuel Pepys enjoyed a fine Walthamstow wine. Now Organiclea are bringing wine making back to the Lea Valley.

London grape growers invited to join Community Wine Making Scheme

Do you grow grapes in your garden or allotment that you would like to have made into a clean and pleasant tasting wine? If so, then community food co-operative Organiclea is inviting you to deliver your harvested grapes to its Hawkwood Winery in North London this autumn. The Winery will combine all deliveries into two batches to make red and white wine, and will then return the finished wine to participating growers in the proportion of grapes they deliver to this year’s vintage.

The minimum individual delivery the winery will accept is one full bucket of ripe, clean grapes. You can expect to get one bottle of red wine for every 1.5 kilos of grapes and a bottle of white wine for every 2 kilos.

In return for your grapes and a minimal production fee of £6 per bottle, Hawkwood Winery will ferment, age and bottle the wine, releasing it to you in September 2016. Your wine you will be for domestic consumption only – that is, it cannot be sold.

Since its launch in 2013, the Community Wine Making Scheme has turned 850 kilos of grapes into wine for 64 households across London. The grapes are fermented in the autumn and the wine is settled and aged in tanks through the winter. The white wine is bottled in the late spring and the red wine at the end of summer. The participating growers are invited to the Hawkoood Winery to taste the young wines in the late spring and pick up their bottled wine in September.

You may be interested to watch Steve Tippell’s mini-documentary about the beginning of this scheme - “Wine Revived; community wine making in North East London”:


The days on which the grapes can be delivered to the winery will be announced at the beginning of September, and will depend on how grapes are ripening across London in this particular year. Participants in the wine making scheme will be informed in good time to allow them to harvest and deliver their grapes to the winery.

To join the scheme please contact Marko Bojcun at communitywine@gmail.com with the following information: your post code, the expected weight or volume of your harvest, the grape variety, if known, and whether you treat your vines with any sprays.

Organiclea is a workers' cooperative, growing food on London's edge in the Lea Valley. The co-operative’s main growing site is the Hawkwood Plant Nursery, where its winery and vineyard are also located. For more information and directions visit: http://www.organiclea.org.uk/ 

Marko Bojcun 

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