I have just finished reading an article in the Indie about a group of Tooting residents who are having the crop from their grapes made into their own local vintage. In it Richard Sharp of Tooting writes:
“Last summer, I collected a bucket of grapes from my own vines and took them to the annual pressing at Bookers Vineyard in Bolney, West Sussex. Bookers sits on a hill that was part of the Butting Hill One Hundred, listed in the Domesday Book. Over the next five years, the vineyard will produce up to 80,000 bottles, and it is one of the few vineyards that offer pressings for those growing grapes in their gardens and smallholdings. Sam Linter, the vineyard’s manager, says: “It is a highlight of the harvest to see these small producers bringing their grapes in, full of anticipation for the wine they will receive back, but also it is a slightly frightening responsibility.” My own harvest was modest compared with some of the other Sussex and Kent growers. I decided there and then that 2007 would be the year when I recruited more grape growers in my neighbourhood of Furzedown to make urban wine with."
You can read the article in full here
It has got me thinking. There is no doubt that we have an increasingly mild micro climate in London. I had a vine on my garden wall in St Margarets which was increasingly rampant until I cut it down last summer — only to replaced it with another variety of grape. My next door neighbour also has a vine on his garden wall. There must be others. So why don’t we get together to see if there are enough of us to get our annual crop bottled as Chateau St Margarets — I can’t join in until my new vine gets going but am happy to get involved in setting up the St Margarets Wine Growers Circle. Anyone interested can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org