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District Winery becomes D.C.'s first 'urban winery'

Monday, October 23, 2017 - 02:09

The Nation's Capital gets its first winery. But where do they get the grapes? Co-founder John Stires and head winemaker Conor McCormack talk about what it takes to make an urban wine. Gavino Garay has the story.

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Nestled along Washington's Anacostia river, it's not the first place you'd expect to come across a winery. This is District Winery -- the capital's first ever 'urban winery' and restaurant which opened in late August. But you won't find sprawling vineyards here. With grapes trucked in from the West and East Coast, it's the winemaking process that reins supreme in this huge 17,000 square foot facility. That's the key to crafting a rose due out in Spring 2018 that's distinctly D.C., says co-founders, John Stires. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CO-FOUNDER JOHN STIRES SAYING: ""The beauty of an urban winery, is we're not beholden to a VA or one region. We like to focus on vineyards where varietals are their best. We like to look at different regions across the country. So allows us to source from areas like California and New York and Washington and even close by in Virginia for our portfolio wines." An approach that doesn't come with the economic or geographic burden of owning and operating a vineyard. And THAT gives head winemaker Conor Mccormack free reign. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HEAD WINEMAKER CONOR MCCORMACK SAYING: "The biggest thing is that I'm not tied into a region, so I can pull grace from all around the country, that gives me a lot of access to different climates, different growing techniques, different soil types and different varieties that match those areas. So I'm not kind of a home to one site that allows me to broaden out not only the grapes that I can bring in, but how I can treat them when they come in." The cosmopolitan crowd here isn't complaining about ease of access and tastings between $10-$15. (SOUNDBITE) (English) WINE TASTING GUEST ERIN MCGOVERN SAYING: " "Yeah, I mean, we don't have a car, so this is like perfect for us, because you can just, come over, taste the wines, hang out, enjoy the waterfront, not have to worry about driving." And although their signature rose is still under fermentation, once the sediment in the barrels settles it'll be ready for bottling by spring time. Certainly something District Winery -- and many Washington residents -- will raise a glass to.

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District Winery becomes D.C.'s first 'urban winery'

Monday, October 23, 2017 - 02:09