London Cru is a venture is backed by Cliff Roberson, founder of Roberson Wine and a private investor, Will Tomlinson.
The company says the winery is being constructed in a former gin distillery, under Roberson Wine’s Earls Court head office, near its shop in Kensington.
Australian winemaker Gavin Monery, who is said to have worked at some of the world’s top wineries, including Cullen Wines, Moss Wood and Jean-Louis Chave, will oversee everything from grape deliveries through to processing, fermenting, ageing and bottling.
Grapes will come from selected growers sourced by Monery 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, says the company.
It says grapes will be hand harvested, transported in refrigerated trucks and will arrive at London Cru within 36 hours. The fruit will then be processed and vinified with the first limited edition London Cru wine expected to go on sale from mid 2014 onwards.
London Cru will open to the public in November, when winery tours and tastings will be conducted. It will also be available for hire as a events space in the city.
Monery 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,” said Monery.
In response to Drinks International's question: 'Why bother bring grapes from France when you can source from large English producers such as Chape Down or Denbies, for example?' Monery said: "We aren’t using English grapes this year but we hope to in the future. The main reason for the first batch of fruit coming from France is that we have excellent relationships with the producers we’re buying grapes from in Bordeaux, the Langeudoc and the Roussillon and know them and their estates very well. We think there are some brilliant wines being made in the UK and we hope to find a suitable partner going forward that we can work with."