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The Future of Wine: Urban Vineyards?

In an age of backlash against big-business agriculture and of increasing value placed on local, sustainable living, the phenomenon known as urban farming flourishes. From tiny planters on the balconies of chic lofts to reclaimed industrial lots, city dwellers in some of America's larger urban centers are finding joy and sustenance in growing their own organic food.

And if people can grow tomatoes and corn in an old vacant lot, then why can't they grow wine grapes?

My friend, winemaker Bryan Harrington, has planted Pinot Noir in several places within the San Francisco city limits over the years and I know a couple of people who have a few vines in their back yards in the city, which they use to make tiny quantities of wine.

Urban viticulture may have just entered a new era, however, as a substantial commercial vineyard has been installed in the city limits of London. A joint venture between a local horticultural college and the urban farm that provided the land, Forty Hall Vineyards hopes to produce a commercial product in time for the 2012 London Olympics.

I wish them luck, if only because I'd love to see more of these types of experiments that can bring wine that much closer to everyone's back yard. With a little more global warming, I might just be able to put a couple of vines in mine.

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud