An urban tale of three loves
While urban wineries have recently become a trendy phenomenon across the world’s main capitals, Blackbook are not just mere followers of a passing fad. This husband-and-wife project is the materialisation of a long-planned project, deeply rooted in their love for cool climate Pinot Noir & Chardonnay, the English wine industry and the city of London.
Location: London, UK
Working with us since: 2020
Our pick of the best wine from this producer: ‘Painter of Light’ Chardonnay
Interesting fact: Every year, Sergio and Lynsey invite friends, family and loyal customers to help during harvest. This is quickly becoming a real ‘Battersea tradition’ with the hours of hard labour ending with a much-anticipated pizza party!
The son of Italian and Hungarian immigrants, Sergio Verrillo grew up in the US immersed in the wine-loving traditions of these two European countries. He moved to London in the 1990s and began his career as a sommelier in iconic venues Maze, Chez Bruce and Tamarind. While he was sure that wine was what he wanted to dedicate his life to, it soon became apparent that his vocation was on the production, rather than service, side of things.
He therefore decided to enrol at Plumpton College in East Sussex, where he earned a degree in Viticulture and Oenology in 2014. Sergio would spend the next few years as a travelling winemaker, honing his craft under the prestigious roofs of Greyfriars (England), Flowers/Calera (California), De Montille (Burgundy), Mulderbosch (Stellenbosch) and Ata Rangi (New Zealand).
Upon his return to London, Sergio and his wife Lynsey, were determined to start their own project in their beloved city of London.
And so the Blackbook Winery project, located under a railway arch in Battersea, started to bloom. The grapes are sourced from growers within hours of the city, carefully selected for their well-located vineyards and high-quality grapes. Their range, which focuses on still wines, is a refreshing presence in the English wine scene, both in terms of style and character.
While Sergio has great appreciation for classic production methods, he combines it with a desire to innovate and produce uniquely distinct wines from carefully selected fruit. He is committed to expressing the full potential of his growers’ vineyards, and places particular care in the ageing processes, so as to promote textural & flavour complexity. Their range focuses on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir but they’ve been doing interesting experiments with other varieties such as Seyval Blanc and Bacchus.
In contrast with most other London urban wineries, that source their fruit from as far as Spain or Italy, Blackbook is a project focused on proximity, sustainability and cooperation, inseparable from their relationship with growers and faith in the English wine industry.