Urban Winery's Steve Thorp and Mike Macquisten

Vancouver’s first commercial urban winery, Vancouver Urban Winery, has officially opened its doors in the historic heart of the city’s Railtown district.

The multifunctional 7,700 square foot open-concept space boasts a tasting bar equipped with 36 taps serving a rotating selection of wine on tap, a creatively curated retail store, and a fully operational winery that packages, imports, and distributes wine for a large variety of brands, including Blasted Church, Nichol Vineyards, Joie Vineyards, Laughing Stock, and Hester Creek, to name a few. 

36 wine taps line the 24-foot custom crafted Douglas fir tasting bar in Vancouver Urban Wineryʼs historic 1920’s high-ceilinged building. Staffed by a team of wine lovers and sommeliers alike, the tasting bar offers a continuously rotating selection of wines that highlight both international selections and the best of BC.
Okanagan Crush Pad at Urban Winery

Special Thursday and Friday events feature local artisanal food and wine pairings; each selection is announced via social media on the preceding Wednesday. These pairing events may also be reserved by phoning Urban Winery ahead of time.

Wines on tap are priced at $10 for five one-ounce pours, with food and wine pairings priced between $17 and $25 for five wines paired with five bites.

For guests wishing to bring a taste of the experience home, a creatively curated shop lies within the walls of the Vancouver Urban Winery space. Foodies can expect to find Beta5 Chocolates, Urban Bean Coffee, Sea to Sky salts and spices, Fey and Hobbs antipasto and drunken olives, Okanagan Vinegar Brewery selections, as well as bottles of the Vancouver Urban Winery’s own wine label, Roaring Twenties Wine Co.

Urban Winery taps

At the heart of Vancouver Urban Winery lies FreshTAP, Vancouver Urban Winery’s subsidiary company that packages wine for wineries entering the emerging wine on tap market. A first in Canada, FreshTAP receives finished wine from the winery which is then transferred from casks into 19.5 litre stainless steel kegs, held under a constant blanket of nitrogen.

Wine kegs are then distributed to partnering venues where they are fit into tap systems (similar to the concept of beer on tap). In a city where nearly 80% of wine sales in bars and restaurants are consumed by the glass, this method removes the tricky reality of oxidization and guarantees that consumers can ensure their glass of wine tastes exactly how the winemaker intended, from the first glass to the last. 

The environmental impact of the wine of tap concept is unparalleled as one keg eliminates the need for 26 bottles to ever be produced, not to mention the unnecessary production of labels, corks or caps for individual bottles, as well as shipment of cases. To date, Vancouver Urban Winery has filled 1,210 kegs, thus eliminating 31,460 bottles from production.

This savings is passed along to wineries striving to be more green and ultimately creates potential for wineries and restaurants to pass this savings along to consumers. Consumers are now able to find FreshTAP wines on a wine list via a small FreshTAP icon placed next to the selection. Alongside the FreshTAP logo lies the brand’s message: “FreshTAP: a smarter, fresher, friendlier glass of wine”. 

Urban Winery is located at 55 Dunlevy Street in Vancouver’s Railtown district. It’s open six days a week from Monday to Friday 11 am to 9 pm, and Saturday from 11 am to 2 pm. Visit the website for details. You can also follow Vancouver Urban Winery on Twitter (@VanUrbanWinery) or on their Facebook page.

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