Vancouver Urban Winery
Spotlight on Vancouver Urban Winery with Mike Macquisten
From the outside, the Vancouver Urban Winery (VUW) appears to be an ordinary warehouse but as you approach it, you are greeted by a beautiful set of large wooden doors and melody of wine aromas. Inside, a grand stone fireplace stands beneath a 24 foot ceiling and the space is lined with wine tanks, oak barrels and stainless steel kegs soon to be filled with wine.
While travelling in San Francisco, Co-owners Mike Macquisten and Steve Thorp came upon the emerging wine-on-tap industry which gave them the inspiration to start FreshTAP. FreshTAP finds its home at the Urban Winery and began production in February 2012. Originally packaging for just 2 wineries, FreshTAP has expanded its custom wine kegging operations with 60 wineries and spans Western Canada. Mike Macquisten says of the expansion, ?We were in three restaurants out of the gate and the concept of premium wines available on-tap really took off. There are now wine taps in 100+ bars and restaurants.? Wine is stored in stainless steel kegs and pressurized by inert gas until its ready to be served at an establishment. This process ensures the quality of the wine and that it will never spoil from oxidation.
The Urban Winery opened to the public in July 2012 on the border of the historical neighbourhoods of Strathcona and Gastown. On why they chose this location, Mike explains, ?We love this neighbourhood. There are so many creative and up-and-coming businesses, it is always inspiring to come to work. ? This neighbourhood never has a boring day!?
The Winery provides an amazing location for the manufacturing, importing, packaging and distributing of quality wines in the heart of the city. It also serves as an educational experience: Mike says, ?People want access to the information, the process between the winery and the bottle,? while having the opportunity to try a variety of wines.? The entire process of wine making from crushing grapes and fermenting to kegging happens on-site and guests can tour the entire process.
Summer marks the Winery?s busiest time with various tourist trolleys stopping upwards of 14 times a day. ?We have a great relationship with Tourism Vancouver, very supportive. If writers are asking about interesting businesses or manufactures they direct them to the Winery.? From this relationship the Urban Winery has been featured in Air Canada?s enRoute Magazine, The Globe & Mail, CBC and CTV news and various other media sources.
Mike Macquisten is Co-Founder and CEO of FreshTAP and the Vancouver Urban Winery located at 55 Dunlevy Ave. in the Historical Neighbourhood of Strathcona. The Winery is open Sunday-Wednesday from 11am-7p and Thursday- Saturday from 11am-11pm and is home to a fully licensed bar and a retail store that features artisan food and wine.