It doesn’t have any vines, and the scenery outside might not be up to Napa Valley standards, but a new winery has opened in the heart of downtown Vancouver.
Vancouver Urban Winery fills a 7,700-square-foot heritage building in Vancouver’s gritty Railtown neighbourhood, on the edge of Gastown. Outside, trains rumble by on the tracks and the giant cranes at the city’s industrial port loom in the distance. Inside, however, is one of the nicest wineries and tasting bars this side of the Okanagan.
The owners completely renovated a 1923 warehouse, creating a stylish, open space to sip and savour that opened earlier this year. Massive oak barrels and wine tanks line the walls. Skylights in the 24-foot-high ceiling flood the room with light. Meanwhile, a grand stone fireplace fills one side of the room, lending warmth to the former industrial space. The scale is enormous – an unlikely urban cathedral tucked away on an unassuming side street.
Vancouver Urban Winery is indeed a working winery, which makes, packages and distributes wine for multiple brands in B.C. The highlight for most visitors, however, is the tasting bar. The winery offers a rotating selection of 36 wines from throughout the province – on tap.
If you haven’t seen wine tap technology before, it’s pretty impressive. No bottles. No corks. Instead, wines are stored in temperature-controlled, stainless steel kegs and poured on demand. With a flick of the tap, you’re assured a perfect glass – fresh, aromatic, with none of that spoiled, day-old bottle taste you sometimes get in restaurants.
Plus, with 36 wines to choose from, you can go on a tasting tour of British Columbia without ever leaving the city. If you’re craving great Okanagan wines – the kind that are either hard to find in liquor stores or too pricey to splurge for a whole bottle – this is the place to go. A single tasting is $2.50 or you can pay $12 for five tastings. Wine can be paired with local artisan nibbles, including jams, antipastos, breads, jerkies and more.
A great opportunity to check out the winery might be at the upcoming Vancouver Gala on Nov. 3. It’s a 1930s speakeasy-styled mixer in support of the Special Olympics. Apart from the wine, the gala features gourmet cuisine and Prohibition-era cocktails, celebrity guests and entertainment.
Anyone checked out the Vancouver Urban Winery? What did you think? Let us know below.