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  • Rebecca Armstrong

A Community Wine Making Scheme for London Gardeners

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 local community food co-operative Organiclea is inviting you to bring your harvested grapes to its Hawkwood Winery this autumn. The Hawkwood Winery is the first in London since the Middle Ages. It has been built to produce wine from Organiclea’s vineyard on site and on behalf of other small scale growers.

The Hawkwood Winery will accept grapes from households, put them together into two separate batches to make red and white wine, and then return the finished wine to the participating households in the proportion of grapes they have delivered to this year’s vintage. The minimum individual delivery that the winery will accept is 7 kilos/15 pounds, or one full bucket of ripe, clean grapes. To ensure they are sufficiently fresh to be made into a palatable wine the grapes must be delivered within 24 hours of harvesting.

The day on which the grapes are to be delivered to the winery will be decided at the beginning of September, and will depend on how grapes are ripening across London in this particular year. It will most likely be either Saturday 21 September or Sunday 29 September. Participants in the wine making scheme will be informed in good time of the set date.

In return for your grapes and a minimal production fee of £5 per bottle, Hawkwood Winery will ferment, clarify, age and stabilise the wine, releasing it to you in bottles with labels by September 2014. Half the production fee will be payable when you deliver your grapes, the other half when you collect your wine.

The amount of wine you receive will be proportionate to the weight of grapes you contribute. You can expect to get five bottles of wine from 7 kilos of grapes.

Your wine you will be for domestic consumption only – that is, it cannot be sold.

To join this scheme please email Marko Bojcun, Organiclea’s grape grower and wine maker – with the following information

  1. your post code

  2. the expected weight or volume of your harvest

  3. the grape variety (if known), and

  4. 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:

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