Tourism,  Winery

Urban Vineyard: Rooftop Reds

Continuing on my wine tourism streak (see these other posts: Japan, Australia), I recently visited Rooftop Reds, an urban vineyard in Brooklyn, New York. It was a cloudless, sunny Tuesday afternoon. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

Hacky-sac game on the roof of Rooftop Reds

What is Rooftop Reds?

Rooftop Reds (paraphrasing from their website) is the world’s first commercially viable urban rooftop vineyard. It is located on a roof in the Brooklyn Naval Yard. It grows vines in self-developed planter containers and soil developed. Both the containers and soil may look normal, but there is a lot of know-how and technology behind them.

Stepping out onto Rooftop Reds

Rooftop Reds had its first harvest in October 2017. It also makes wines from grapes sourced from the Finger Lakes region in New York State.

As you can see from the photos, the rooftop is set up in a way that visitors can kick back while surrounded by vines. The emphasis is on getting people there. The hope is then that people will come to appreciate sustainable practices and become enthusiastic about viticulture. To this end, Rooftop Reds has fun programming such as sunset yoga, brunch, movie nights and one I am curious about, ribs and rose.

What did I drink there?

I went for a simple tasting: the Bordeaux Bae flight with 2016 Rooftop Red Cabernet Franc, 2016 Rooftop Reds Red Blend and 2016 Silver Tread Blackbird. The Cabernet Franc had an expressive greenness, which I like, and nice red fruit. I bought a bottle.

I also had the 2018 Rooftop Reds Dry Rose, which was well-made and delicious.

Bordeaux Bae Flight

Can I get a vineyard closer to my city home?

It would be great to have an urban vineyard like Rooftop Reds in Tokyo. Beyond the fun factor, the mission (sustainability and support for viticulture) and technology are needed and well-suited for Japan. Japan has a sense for sustainability and is strong in related technology. However, it has room to expand in implementing such technology in its agricultural production. It also faces challenges such as low farmable land mass that can be answered by better utilizing space in cities. Relatedly, its wine industry can benefit from increased interest in viticulture and alternatives for production on land designated for agriculture. It would be a win-win all around.

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