URBN VINO: Help me build a Central Otago winery in the city. By Brendan Seal

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About URBN VINO: Help me build a Central Otago winery in the city.

Project 2016-02-10 00:19:25 +1300

I'm a winemaker. From Central Otago. But originally from Dunedin (via Christchurch and Tauranga, but who is really checking?). I've worked for many wineries around the world and I've worked for many people, but right now (due to marvellous luck and some hard work) I make Pinot Noir for my own label. And next? I want to bring winemaking to the city. Not just any wine; Central Otago Pinot Noir, made in the small parcel, hands-on style that helped make the region famous. 

 

In April 2016 I tested this idea and created a 'pop-up' urban winery in Dunedin. I used one of the beautiful heritage buildings undergoing renovation. I brought grapes over from one of Central Otago's best vineyards. I made Central Otago Pinot Noir right in the middle of the one of the best small cities in the world. That was brilliant fun and gained the attention of the public and the media. 

 

Watch the 3News report here.

NZ Life & Leisure August/September 2016

And now I want to do it again, but my capital is wrapped up with the 2016 wines that are still in barrel. By offering some unique wine rewards in advance I hope to raise enough money to purchase Pinot Noir grapes and oak barrels in time for the 2017 harvest. Then I'll again provide the winemaking equipment, experience and labour and make Central Otago wines right in the city. I need to raise $18400 to purchase 4 tonnes of Pinot Noir grapes and $4600 for the oak barrels to mature the wine in. If I raise any more than that it will help to fufill the dream of a permanent location for URBN VINO in 2018.

So why crowdfund? Because so many great people have been interested and involved so far and this is a way (I hope) to expand that enthusiatic crowd. And a way of saying thank you to those people who have faith in the project (and in me) from the very beginning.

 

Yes, craft beer is cool, craft beer is hip, craft beer is experimental, craft beer is urban. I know beer, I love beer, beer is my very good friend. But let me show you that wine can be all of that and more too, given the right environment. And harvest is but once a year, not every 6 weeks. Therein lies the challenge. Come see. www.urbnvino.nz

(You must be over 18 to receive the wine rewards, this will be confirmed when you pledge and again before any wine rewards are dispatched).

 

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The People Behind URBN VINO: Help me build a Central Otago winery in the city.

Logo Brendan Seal Project admin

University of Otago graduate where I wrote a Master of Arts thesis in history on the early NZ wine industry. Then leapt into learning about the wine industry and never left. 3 and a half years as assistant winemaker at Chard Farm in Central Otago, followed by two and a half years as associate winemaker at Mount Edward. Plus overseas positions in Oregon, California, Cyprus, Alsace and the U.K. Almost always producing Pinot Noir. Established my own label in 2009 and leased a winery in Central Otago from 2012 where I make wine for other clients and myself. Taught Wine Knowledge at University of Otago Summer School for four semesters, 2012-2015. And now... the Urban Winery. Everything culminating in this project, my dream for a very long time!

Updates

    First wines bottled!

    11:05AM Mon 03/07/17 on URBN VINO: Help me build a Central Otago winery in the city.

    First wines off the line.

    Important update day!

    First URBN VINO wines were bottled on Friday. The very first Central Otago wines made right in the centre of Dunedin city. A 2016 Pinot Noir from Bendigo and Bannockburn. I need a few more weeks to finalise the label design, and the wine needs a few more weeks to settle down before release. But expect to hear more soon.

    And for those of you waiting on Magnums and cases of Reserve URBN VINO 2016, the blend is done, the wine is in tank, the magnums are ready to fill. Not long now, I expect to have them on your doorstep within next 6 weeks.

    I'll be in contact with you individually to finalise what names wil go on the back labels.

    Thanks for your patience, and as always contact me with any queries at all.

    Cheers

    Brendan

    wine@urbnvino.nz

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    Crutches & Wine: Harvest 2017 update.

    12:04PM Wed 25/01/17 on URBN VINO: Help me build a Central Otago winery in the city.

    So in an unfortunate turn of events I've ruptured my archilles and I'm on crutches for 6 weeks. Then a slow recovery to full strength after that. The good news is I'll be walking before the winemaking harvest in April. The bad news is I won't be able to lift and move winemaking equipment and barrels. Moving stuff is a necessity, especially when setting up a new winery.

    So the solution is for me to make the 2017 wine at an existing winery in Cromwell. Somewhere I can do most of the work, except the heavy stuff. So not a complete disaster. And the good news is it means I can really concentrate on getting a Cellar Door/Tasting room set up in Dunedin for opening (I hope) on July 1st this year, with the winery to follow shortly after that.

    The other good news is that is has no impact on any rewards still due, as they were based on the 2016 wines which will be bottled in April.

    Bad luck and very disappointing, but I've had a week to come to terms with it and now thinking positively. It's a minor delay in the larger plan for the project, I'll still be in Dunedin this year, just 3 months later than expected.

    Any concerns, any comments, questions etc, feel free to email me directly on

    wine@urbnvino.nz

    Hope this finds you all well!

    Brendan

     

     

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    We did it! Thank you so much!

    02:24PM Fri 28/10/16 on URBN VINO: Help me build a Central Otago winery in the city.

    So it is happening! Thanks everyone you pledged, shared, liked, talked about it and gave me emotional as well as financial support. I'll be in touch next week with some more details.

    But now that I know it is happening I need 10 Winemaking Assistants in Dunedin! Check out the reward I just posted, I'm excited by this idea, it has been part of what I wanted to do from the beginning. Come and learn about winemaking, make your own wine, design your own label and help me refine the concept too. It will be pretty messy, but a lot of fun I promise.

    And my hearty thanks again, it is still sinking in.

    Brendan

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    90% funded! (& the most expensive Pinot Noir wines!)

    09:37PM Wed 26/10/16 on URBN VINO: Help me build a Central Otago winery in the city.

    Almost there, almost there... hard to believe, seems like so long ago I launched this campaign yet it was only just over 2 weeks. I encourage anyone to try a bit of crowdfunding with PledgeMe for a great thrill ride.

    So now I'm really just 4 cases of 2016 Reserve Pinot Noir away from being funded, and in an effort to push that along I offer you this link: http://www.wine-searcher.com/regions-central+otago

    The above wines are held in great esteem and deservedly so. And this is the group I intend the URBN VINO Reserve Pinot Noir to regularly reside in within the next 5 years. Ambitious? Absolutely. Impossible? Check out my comments (and the wine reviews) on the previous update to answer that question.

    I believe that one of Central Otago's very finest Pinot Noir wines can be made in Dunedin. Thanks to all those who have helped make this dream a step closer to reality. 

     

    Comment on this update:

    Almost there! Wine Reviews here.

    06:49PM Fri 21/10/16 on URBN VINO: Help me build a Central Otago winery in the city.

    I'm now so very close to that funding target that it's only really six cases of 2016 Reserve 'RS' Pinot Noir or a couple of dozen magnums of the same. So in an effort to demonstrate why I think the URBN VINO 'RS' Pinot Noir 2016 will be well worth the price, I submitted my past reserve wines to two wine judges for assessment.

     

    I've made 3 'Reserve' quality wines under my premium single vineyard Writer's Block label in the past 6 years. Not every vintage is up to scratch, so I only release them when I believe the wine is worth the $49 retail price. Last week I submitted all three wines to two independent reviewers so that people who don't know me, but are considering purchasing my 2016 URBN VINO 'RS' wine, can see I wouldn't be selling it in advance if I didn't think it was at least of the same quality. It is, and I'm very excited about its potential.

     

    You can also get an indication of how well my premium wines age (as I often get asked). The 2010 is still drinking exceptionally well and the 2009 is still tasting good enough for one 5 stars review at least. I'm very happy with that result, 6 years after bottling it. All my premium wines should cellar well for at least 6-8 years, and the 2016 URBN VINO 'RS' will be no exception to this.

     

    The reviewers, Sam Kim and Raymond Chan, are both very experienced and respected wine reviewers and wine show judges. The below notes are taken from their more extensive tasting notes and I encourage you to visit their websites for more information on their experience.

     

    The Writer's Block Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013

    "The palate is finely textured and elegantly weighted, and delivers lovely fruit intensity and rounded mouthfeel, wonderfully framed by fine, polished tannins. At its best: now to 2019".

    91 Points, 4.5 stars, Sam Kim, Wine Orbit

    "This is an elegantly concentrated Pinot Noir with black and red cherry fruit and notes of thyme herbs, liquorice and florals on a fine-textured palate. Match with duck, pork and lamb over the next 5-6 years".

    18.5-/20, 5 Stars, Raymond Chan Wine Reviews

     

     

    The Writer's Block Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010

    "The wine delivers excellent fruit power and intensity, while remaining elegant and stylish. At its best: now to 2018".

    93 Points, 5 Stars, Sam Kim, Wine Orbit

    "This is a fulsome and sweetly rich, black fruited Pinot Noir with a soft, rounded mouthfeel and the beginnings of secondary development.  Match with game meat dishes and casseroles over the next 5 years".

    18.5/20 5 Stars, Raymond Chan Wine Reviews

     

     

    The Writer's Block Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2009

    "It is succulent and rounded on the palate, and displays excellent fruit ripeness and silky texture, well framed by fine, supple tannins. Delectably appealing. At its best: now to 2017".

    93 points, 5 Stars, Sam Kim, Wine Orbit

    "This is an elegant, ethereal and fragrant Pinot Noir with red cherry fruit complexed by secondary spice and cedar notes on a light-textured, brisk palate.  Match with game meat and semi-hard cheeses over the next 4 years".

    18-/20 4 stars, Raymond Chan Wine Reviews

     

    See this link for Raymond Chan's extensive tasting notes on the whole range of The Writer's Block wines and the PledgeMe Pinot Noir 2015.

     

     

    Sam Kim's complete tasting notes on these wines and also the PledgeMe Pinot Noir 2015 to be posted shortly.

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    7 days in, almost halfway there!

    08:36AM Sat 15/10/16 on URBN VINO: Help me build a Central Otago winery in the city.

    Amazing!! Hard to believe it is only a week. Strong possibility I could be halfway funded by end of tomorrow (Sunday) with only $900 to go to hit that mark. Thanks for the pledges, thanks for the sharing.

    So to mark the 7 day milestone I've released a big reward, to help really drive the project to that end goal.

    The chance for a group of up to four people to own their own new wine barrel, get their names printed on it, and get 4 years worth of magnums as rental while I use it. At the end of that time you will get to keep the barrel.

    So if you know anyone who may be interested in this unique wine reward please share the link and share the love. Halfway funded, woo hoo! Thank you thank you everyone!

    Brendan

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    Thanks!

    09:22PM Sun 09/10/16 on URBN VINO: Help me build a Central Otago winery in the city.

    Big Weekend! Vogel St Party was the ideal place to launch. $2700 in 36 hours, you guys are fantastic. I'm going to keep plugging away every day for the next month because I really want this project to happen, and after talking to so many people at the Street Party it seems heaps of you want it to happen too!

    Thanks for the early pledges, it is great to be up and running so well. And thanks for all the supportive comments too. From the moment the grapes arrived in the city it seemed like the idea involved EVERYONE, and this early response has just proved that again. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Long way to go yet, I'll keep updating, but please share the word if you like the concept. I can't replace good word of mouth with social media no matter how I try. But it seems lots of people have been talking already, so thanks for that too!

    Brendan

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      Followers of URBN VINO: Help me build a Central Otago winery in the city.

      This project was successful and got its funding on 06/11/2016 at 10:00 PM.

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