L-R: Tracey Rogers Brandt, Charles Smith and Camillya Masunda / Credit Donkey and Goat, Eric Becker and @Nayahsflow4u
You don’t have to venture to the countryside to visit a vineyard. At urban wineries across the U.S., producers ferment, bottle and sell their wine against the backdrop of a city landscape.
“Interest seems to be growing in urban wineries, and that coincides with a general growing interest in wine,” says John Balistreri, owner of Balistreri Vineyards in Denver. “The urban setting is convenient for people who want a place to learn, taste and have a great environment to gather with friends. I’m not saying the traditional winery setting isn’t still an amazing experience, but we are seeing many traditional wineries opening small urban tasting rooms as well.”
Urban wineries can purchase grapes from multiple vineyards. While it’s not cheap to start one, the barriers to entry are lower than for a traditional vintner who needs farming equipment, among other pricey assets.
But that’s not to say the industry is without challenges. For one thing, you need a financial cushion. “You may pay rent for a year before you open your doors because permitting can take that long,” says Adam Carruth, owner of Carruth Cellars in Solana Beach, California.
Mark Snyder, founder of The Red Hook Winery in Brooklyn, says that with his business comes an array of worries. “We’re concerned about climate change, the wildfires. Do we explore different regions to get our grapes? Then there is the increased cost of transportation and supply chain issues for things like bottles and even labels—things we never anticipated.”