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.