The journey wine takes to get from grape to glass is something Angus Hughson wants to make more personal. And hands on. That’s why he launched The Urban Vineyard Project, which gives locals the chance to create their own backyard wine journey.
Decades ago, vines grew on the side of most houses in Sydney. Backyards were full of them. But many of these houses, along with their vines, have been torn down. Angus Hughson wants to bring Sydney’s verdant past back to life.
Five years ago he planted a small vine cutting in the backyard of his Sydney home. Today that vine stands six metres tall and six metres wide and yields enough grapes for him to make his own wine in the bathtub every year, plus plenty for eating.
The project, which is supported by online wine marketplace Cracka Wines, was first launched at the Wine Island festival in November. Thousands of free vine cuttings were given away to all who visited, to be planted in their yards. “We can’t take all our customers to the Hunter Valley, so we want to bring the vineyard to them,” says Hughson.
New vine owners are encouraged to upload their home addresses to the project’s website to create a virtual map of the growing “urban vineyards”. Advice for looking after their vines is available on the site, too, and there’s a community page where participants can share photos and where they will eventually be able to watch winemaking lessons. Hughson wants to take his customers on a “wine journey” from planting and growing to harvesting and creating.
If you missed out on a vine at the Wine Island festival, it’s not too late to get one (free of charge) through The Urban Vineyard website.