Urban winery in Bethnal Green, Renegade London has been featured on Vice and Time Out. When I was invited down to check it out I thought: I love wine, it’s cheaper than therapy, so why not? The tasting was arranged for Bank Holiday.
Renegade is the new resident of an ex-transgender sex club, in the archway of an overground train station. It’s just all so East London, isn’t it? After battling with licensing issues with its neighbours, it officially opened on the 12th of May and for now, it is open to the public on Friday and Saturday. We’ve all heard stories about how the ex-banker turns into a meditation guru, fried chicken shop owner (okay I kind of made the first two up) or in this case, wine maker. LSE graduate Warwick used to live in Singapore and ran an investment company before he began the vino venture in March last year. His New Zealander wine expert Josh joined him in August.
Currently Renegade offers two white wines mostly because compared to their coloured counterparts, white doesn’t require a great deal of ageing, making it quicker to bring to market. The first is a Sauvignon Blanc grape imported from small farmers in France and made in the UK that retails at £16. This was my favourite, although the second option is arguably more intriguing. Made from a Bacchus grape and sourced from Hereford in Wales, this
wine is fully British and probably isn’t worried about Brexit. It retails for £18 and is incredibly light and dry with floral notes. Warwick enlightened us with the truth about ‘skinny’ alcohol – that it’s mostly a marketing trick and he mentioned that his wines have no residual sugar – the sweetness comes purely from the alcohol itself. Technically his wines are ‘skinny’.
Then came the stranger revelations. Talk of fish bladder arose, which is commonly used to ease the roughness of wine (and also to give beer a clear appearance) in the alcohol. This explains how I’ve come across wine with the vegan label! I always had the macabre idea that little fruit flies may have perished in the liquid at some point during the fermentation process or something – but vegan wines made sure that this didn’t happen. In reality, it has to do with the guts of sturgeons. I should also mention that Renegade doesn’t use this technique but does keep its own traditions. Its winemaker uses the rustic method of foot stomping for the plucked Bacchus grapes, instead of the typical routine of crushing the fruit on the stalk in whole bunches against stainless steel. And just in case we didn’t believe him, he showed us a photo of Josh and wife, a picture of bohemian health. They looked like one of those beautiful 70’s couples with matching long surfer hair. If anyone’s toes was going to grind the grapes it was obviously going to be entrusted to them.
Check out Renegade London Wine here