Best of London: London Cru

by Brenna Holeman

London Cru 4

A couple of weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to visit London Cru, London’s first winery. I don’t hide the fact that I absolutely love wine (and whiskey, and gin, and beer, and tequila), so I jumped at the chance to visit this unique place and participate in one of their tours. Found near West Brompton station in the West End, London Cru offers tours every Saturday for £15 a person.

I was greeted by Adam, the general manager of the winery. He proceeded to give the tour for the next hour, which included lots of information on how and why the winery was started in urban London, as well as a tasting of five of the wines. I love when people have passion, and it was clear from the start that everybody involved in London Cru has an immense amount of passion for this project.

London Cru 1

You may be wondering: how could somebody start a winery in the middle of one of the biggest cities on Earth? I thought this, too – London isn’t exactly known for its vineyards. Head winemaker Gavin got the idea to transport grapes from France to London, and then do the actual winemaking in the UK. Originally from Australia, and having lots of experience on vineyards around the world, Gavin worked on the harvest in France last September. Here’s a video of what happened when the grapes arrived:

I’ve done a few other winery/vineyard tours, and they often end up being the same: here are the barrels, here’s some information about the wine/grapes, and here’s some samples. London Cru felt different, though, much more personal and much more hands-on. Being a small space, we were able to see each piece of equipment and stand in the very room the wine was made. As their website says, they wanted to create a “hands-on, informative, and entertaining experience”. This, combined with their passion for wine, leads me to believe that they will be very successful in their endeavour.

London Cru 3

London Cru

I also loved London Cru’s approach to winemaking: they want to encourage people to choose their wine on its merit, not just to support a local company (although that is certainly a selling point for me). They haven’t bottled anything yet, as the wine is still in the process of ageing, but the first bottles will hopefully start selling online and in shops in the next few months. For now, the way to taste the wine is on one of the tours. I got to taste a rosé, a syrah, a barbera, and two cabernet sauvignons. While they are not ready to be bottled, I could tell that the wine was coming along really nicely. I’m not a sommelier by any means, but I especially liked the barbera. If I could possibly talk about wine without sounding pretentious (it’s difficult), I would say it was quite round and plummy, with a slight cherry aftertaste.

If you are into wine and winemaking, or would like to learn more about it, I would definitely recommend booking one of the tours if you’re in London. This September, when they bring in another batch of grapes, the public will have a chance to help directly in the winemaking process, getting involved in sorting the grapes (as seen in the video).

London Cru 2


London Cru is located at 21/27 Seagrave Road, London, SW6 1RP. You can book tickets to join one of the Saturday tours here. While my tour was complimentary, this is something I would have gladly paid for.

Is this tour something that interests you? Do you like tours of vineyards/wineries? 

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Lisa from Lulu's Big Adventure March 20, 2014 - 11:08 am

I’m not into wine, but I think it’s pretty cool that they were able to have a winery right in the middle of London! Awesome concept. 🙂

Brenna Holeman March 20, 2014 - 12:46 pm

I know – it’s such a cool concept!

Katie @ Domestiphobia March 20, 2014 - 12:36 pm

Ahhh soooo cool! I’m way into wine. Way. But I can’t pull off the pretentious sound (yet) because I have a horrific palate and my memory is SO terrible that I’d never be able to say, “Oh yes, the 2009 Bordeaux I tried last year was far superior to this year’s 2010. But let’s do a vertical to compare shall we? Mwahaha.” Anyway. Love it. And I love it when people take risks. Like opening a winery in London.

If you’re ever in Colorado in the U.S., do the free tour at the Coors factory. It’s just Coors, so not nearly as intimate as a microbrewery, but you get three free pints at the end (yeah, get a taxi), and there’s something about tasting it direct from the brewery that makes it so much better. They recently released a pre-prohibition style lager (I tried it there before it was available in stores here), and it’s fantastic. For Coors. (Coors did not pay me for this comment. Ha.)

Brenna Holeman March 20, 2014 - 12:47 pm

I’ve never been that great with describing wines, either. Plus I just CANNOT get over the idea that I sound so pretentious doing so! I guess that would come with time…

I’ve heard about the Coors tour, actually – I spent a bit of time in Colorado in 2011, but perhaps I should go back! Thanks for the suggestion.

Helen March 20, 2014 - 1:26 pm

This definitely sounds right up my street… think I may need to pay a visit… you know I like my wine! 🙂

Brenna Holeman March 20, 2014 - 1:44 pm

Yes – I think you’d love the tour, Helen!

Charlie March 20, 2014 - 1:42 pm

Sounds super, I’m not a wine connoisseur by any means but I love wine and would love to go! Can you only go on Saturdays do you know?

Brenna Holeman March 20, 2014 - 1:45 pm

That’s how I feel, too – I don’t know much about wine, but I know that I love it! At the moment I believe they are only open on Saturdays for tours, but perhaps that will change in the future…

Nikita March 20, 2014 - 2:40 pm

London is probably the last place I would expect to find a winery! Interesting concept, though.
And that wine description was deliciously pretentious, and it made me want wine.

Brenna Holeman March 20, 2014 - 3:02 pm

Ha ha – I’m glad the description worked! I could use a glass myself, even though it’s barely past lunchtime.

Lost in London March 20, 2014 - 4:29 pm

Hi Brenna! I’ve done the tour a few weeks ago. I can’t wait for the first bottle, probably in August. May be we should then bring one to September meeting 😉

Brenna Holeman March 20, 2014 - 5:25 pm

I agree – wine at 10am sounds like a great idea! 😉

Alyssa @ Alyssa Writes March 20, 2014 - 6:43 pm

Mmm.. I love wine! I took tasting lessons for whites and reds when I was doing my summer abroad in France, but I didn’t appreciate it then as much as I do now. I was still drinking Sex on the Beaches or Amaretto Sours or something else girly and sweet like that! haha.

Brenna Holeman March 21, 2014 - 11:02 am

To be honest, I never remember what I’m supposed to remember about tasting wines. I simply know, “yes, I like that one”, or “no, I don’t like that one”. I really would like to remember/know more!

Christine March 20, 2014 - 9:38 pm

Ooohh I love wine tasting/winery tours. I have been to Niagara-on-the-lake to sample wines and also to Prince Edward County. I love going to small wineries.

Brenna Holeman March 21, 2014 - 11:00 am

I definitely need to do some wine-tasting in Canada!

Zalie March 24, 2014 - 10:50 am

I know it may seem shocking with all the wine I have drank in my life, but I just realized that I have never done a proper wine-tasting!!!

Brenna Holeman March 24, 2014 - 11:14 am

Oh really? That does surprise me, actually!

The Story of El Camino Bracelets (plus a giveaway!) - This Battered Suitcase March 31, 2014 - 4:01 pm

[…] I’m willing to work with companies and tourism boards for complimentary trips and tours (like my visit to London Cru a few weekends ago), I have no desire to participate in anything that does not keep up with the theme of This Battered […]


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