William Jack and Tom McKim, the duo behind Clapton Craft, are set to open their new wine venture, Gnarly Vines, today in Leyton. With five successful beer shops under their belts, they’ve turned their sights to wine — both have history in wine production and retail — with a focus on the natural/low intervention, “gnarly” end of the spectrum.
Their first shop is on Hoe Street in Leyton, a neighbourhood, unlike Hackney, say, without a surfeit of new-wave wine shops — that will also feature a curated selection of craft beers and spirits, cheeses, and related homewares (like ceramics, chopping boards, knives). Nevertheless, the pair have had past success with being early settlers; their original Clapton Craft shop opened on what — some four years ago — was an otherwise nondescript stretch of Lower Clapton Road where they have since been joined by Yardsale Pizza, and Eater London’s restaurant of the year 2017, P. Franco, among others.
As for Leyton, Will Jack told Eater that they chose the location following a successful two years of Clapton Craft at the other end of Hoe Street — they know the area, and many of the pair’s friends live nearby. While phase one of Gnarly Vines is to kick off the retail front — the vision is a one-stop shop for a simple evening in — Jack and McKim are already working on phase two, which will focus on on-trade, and the “potential for Gnarly Vines becoming a hub that people can travel to, which we hope they do!” Word is, summer 2018 will see the opening of London’s “gnarliest wine garden” too.
It’s worth remembering that P. Franco, too, started out as a bottle shop.