Urban winery Gutter & Stars Wines opens in Cambridge

A new urban winery has opened in Cambridge.

Gutter & Stars Wines is the brainchild of winemaker and wine journalist Chris Wilson.

The urban winery – a first for the city and following in the footsteps of city-based wineries in London, New York and Paris – is housed in the basement of a Grade II listed windmill less than a mile from the city centre.

Wilson, who has an oenology degree from Plumpton College in Sussex, is sourcing fruit for the venture from neighbouring county Essex and plans to crush his first grapes in late September, with the harvest continuing into October.

He said: “I’ve wanted to start my own winemaking business for some time, but I never thought that it would be in the basement of a historic windmill in Cambridge.”

Having looked at a number of sites across the city an opportunity came up to house the winery in Chesterton, 10 minutes from where he lives with his family.

He said: “It’s the perfect spot for a boutique urban winery and I’m excited to be bringing a production facility back to Chesterton Mill for the first time in more than 60 years.”

Chesterton Mill was built in the late 1840s and thrived for over 100 years on its site just north of the River Cam, producing grain and flour for the city’s bakeries, delivered by horse and cart.

Wilson – who has made wine in California, Germany and the UK – will make a handful of different styles of wine under his Gutter & Stars label using locally grown fruit from Missing Gate Vineyard near Chelmsford in Essex’s Crouch Valley.

The inaugural vintage gets under way this month with the first wines ready for release in Spring 2021. Using French oak barrels and small tanks Wilson’s focus is on quality, small-batch still wines. He aims to produce more than 2,000 bottles in the first year, with production increasing as the operation grows.

He said: “Working in the wine trade as a journalist for a number of years I have visited countless wineries around the world, getting to know winemakers, techniques and beliefs along the way… I have a long list of dos and don’ts.

“I hope to tap into this experience here at Gutter & Stars, but I also want to make my own mark and produce wines with a nod to the very unique surroundings in which they are being made.”

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